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Gift of 

Estate of 
Ella T. Briggs 







i MA 



r/c (.02 t 

4 ft ft" 

Coptbioht 1982 


tEfre Cttfam & gotten Company 


6. K. Chxstbbton 



I Pippin Goes Off to See the World . . 1 

II Pippin Meets the Shepherds and Goes to 

Breakfast 16 

III Telling How the Farmer Brought Home 

the Priest 25 

IV Pippin Falls in with the Gentleman 

Tramp 36 

V The Story of the Gentleman Tramp 48 

VI The Story of the Gentleman Tramp 

(Continued) 62 

VII Pippin Meets a Poor Shopkeeper and 

Some Rich Ones 73 

VIII Pippin Spends a Day with a Pedlar . 88 

IX The Road and the Field . . . .101 

X Pippin Walks On and Meets Many Kinds 

of People Ill 

XI The Old Clergyman and His Story . .122 

XII Pippin Goes to the Circus and Has a 

Passage with a Lion-Tamer . . .132 

XIII Pippin Sups with the Ring-Master . .146 

XIV The Last Ride 156 

XV Pippin Joins the Circus . . . .166 

XVI The First Halt 179 

XVII Pippin Plays His Part 191 

XVIII The People of the Circus . . . 203 

XIX Pippin Leaves the Circus • . . .219 

XX Pippin Acquires a Friend, and Walks On 231 

XXI Pippin Hears a Tale and Gives Advice 244 

XXII The Great Musician ...... 257 

XXIII A Close Call 270 














Pippin is Preached at .... 282 

Pippin Works and Gets Tired op It . . 296 

The Great City 309 

One Tavern and Another .... 322 

Pippin Looks for Work and Finds It . 334 

Pippin Sees It Through .... 337 

Pippin Starts for Home and Meets an 

Old Acquaintance 356 

Journey's End 369 





Pippin shut to the house door and stood outside in the 
fresh air of the morning. 

It was very early. He had caught the world half 
awake, half asleep. The grass was white with dew, the 
shadow of night still clung about the trees of the orchard, 
the birds in the lilacs were only twittering. The house 
behind him was in a dead sleep. Its deep eaves hung oyer 
blinded windows and no breath of household life went up 
from its chimneys. 

Pippin opened the garden gate, and let it fall to with 
a clatter behind him. He threw one glance back at his 
home, old and warm and patient, and swung off up the 
hill with the strong step of youth. He walked fast be- 
cause he was setting out to see the world, and the world 
won't wait for youth, although age finds it in less of a 

As he strode up the hill, between high banks starred 
with primroses and crowned with budding beeches, the 
earth suddenly stretched itself and woke up. 

Some men and women, and nearly all children, who live 

close to nature, know this moment when the earth springs 

up from its sleep, although most miss it, and cannot tell 

why the birds suddenly begin to shout in chorus. It is a 



little lighter than it was a minute ago, but it was a little 
lighter then than a minute before. What has happened? 
The birds know. A minute ago there was some doubt as 
to whether the sun would really rise again. Now there is 
nc doubt at all. There is at least one more jolly day to 
come before the end. 

Young Pippin was good to look at as he strode up the 
hill, with all the world to himself and life in front of him. 
His fair hair curled crisply, his eyes were blue and merry, 
his face freckled, his mouth kind and sensitive. He was 
dressed in a suit of rough homespun. He carried a pack, 
and a stout ash sapling with a natural crook — none of 
your curved handles bent with steam for him ! — served for 
swinging to his stride and cutting at the wayside weeds. 
He would have small need of it for supporting his steps. 
But a good hone/st stick is company for a man, and the 
hand likes it, being a little jealous of the stout work com- 
mitted to the feet, when the master of both walks abroad. 

When he had paid due toll to the promise of another 
day with a quick laugh of pleasure, and a sniffing of the 
nostrils at the virginal keen air, he fell silent and 
thoughtful for a time, looking on the ground as he walked. 
He was thinking of the farewell he had taken of his old 
father and mother the night before; and this is the pic- 
ture his memory laid out for him. 

On either side of the deep hearth was an old wooden 
chair, with arms and a high back and a cushioned seat. 
There is no chair like a wooden chair for comfort and 
self-respect combined. Our fathers knew nothing of those 
big, low, heavily padded chairs for the enjoyment of 
which you must give up your will to rise and go about 
your business if the spirit moves you. Besides, they woo 


you to sleep, and the proper place for sleep is a bed, 
whether of hay or feathers. 

In one of these chairs sat Pippin's father, and in the 
other his mother, for the best part of the day. For they 
were both old. Pippin was the child of their middle-age. 
The name they had given him at the font was almost 
forgotten, for immediately afterwards they had given 
him another. He was like a red, sweet, juicy, lusty 
apple of the orchard; and, out of all the foolish names 
with which they had mocked lovingly at his helplessness, 
that of Pippin had clung to him throughout his years. 

Pippin's father sat hour after hour by the hearth, on 
which the great logs blazed merrily, or flickered on their 
bed of grey ashes, their fire dying down like the fire of 
his life. Out of all that he had done and desired and 
fought for, there remained to him the hearth and this good . 
roof above his head; a little food and a little sleep; his 
old wife, whose continual presence stirred him now a little 
less than her absence would have done; his long, long 
thoughts of the past, so clear, so wise, and so fruitless ; 
and his son. 

When Pippin was in the room his thoughts left the fire 
in which he saw so much, and followed him. His son 
stood for everything he had lost, the hope and the 
strength and the passion of manhood. He was the fruit 
of his own loins, and would carry on in himself and in his 
children's children that joyful tussle with fate, in which 
a man is beaten before he enters the ring, but never ad- 
mits it, until his enemy, having let him play for a while, 
robs him of his weapons and makes an end of him. 

Pippin's mother was not so old as his father by some 
years, but she could not walk without help and sat per- 


force in her chair with a table by her side busying her- 
self with whatever lay to her hand. She beguiled the 
long hours with talk, uttering whatever came into her 
mind, as is the way with women, in whom a seed of thought 
immediately becomes a flower of speech, but, as it has 
had little time to germinate, not always a very good one, 
though better than a man's would be if forced in the same 
way. For the top soil of a woman's mind is commonly 
productive, but you must dig deeper into a man's. 

So the old woman talked, and the old man sat silent. 
But beneath the cover of her chatter there was experience 
as deep as his. She had been his willing helpmate through 
their life together, and the things that he had desired and 
worked for she had desired and worked for too, not that 
she might enjoy them, but that he might. She had gone 
through pain and trouble to bear him the child in whose 
begetting he had known only delight. Hers had been the 
care, and hers the fears. And she could not stay herself 
with the thought that her child would grow more like 
her, for the older a son grows the more he loses that part 
of herself which his mother gave him, however strong the 
love that may bind them together. 

The old woman chattered and the old man sat silent, 
piling up mountains of slow orderly thoughts. And of 
the two perhaps she was the happier, for she lived more 
in the present, and, if she searched in the cupboard of 
her mind for memories, she took out only the happy ones 
and let the bitter lie. This again is the way of a woman, 
and she is not to be blamed for it. 

Well then, the two old folk sat by the fire after their 
evening meal, and their son sat between them, or walked 
up and down the length of the room as he talked. For h* 


had something very serious to impart and was all astir 
in mind and body until the matter should be settled. 

He must go out and see the world. That was the end 
of it all. Home was a very good place, but a young 
man could have too much of it. This he wrapped up a 
little, but it was plain what he meant. The spring 
pricked his blood and he was for starting at once. 

It took him a long time to say it, for at the first word 
of leaving home his mother's fears arose, and his plea was 
much broken by her complaints and reproaches. Indeed, 
before the end «he had spoken more words than he 

First of all she lauded his home. What young man 
had a better one, or more freedom to come and go within 
its confines? 

None, said Pippin. It was a very pleasant home and 
he would come back to it. 

"To find our places empty, very like. Do you grudge 
your old father and mother their places by the fire, 
Pippin? All the rest is yours, the fields and the woods and 
the barns. You are as good as master. And you will 
only have to wait a little while until you are master in 
name as well as deed." 

"I do not want to be master," said Pippin. "Nothing 
is further from my mind. But as the time must come — 
may it be far distant — when I shall be, I must see the 
world before I settle down in this little corner of it." 

"I have lived here all my long life," she said, "in this 
house or my father's — in two houses and the same beauti- 
ful country all my years." 

"But my father hasn't. He would not have been the 
man he is, or done what he has done, if he had not seen 


the world in his youth. You are a woman, mother. You 
don't understand." 

"I understand this," she said, "that a man always 
wants some new thing. It was just the same when you 
were a child, Pippin; if I gave you one toy, which you 
asked for, and thought to have a moment's peace, you 
were crying for another before I had time to settle to 

And so it went on between them, the old man sitting 
silent looking into the fire, and seeing there, perhaps, pic- 
tures of the adventures of his own youth. 

But when his mother found she could not move him by 
argument she stretched out her arms to him and cried, 
"Oh, Pippin, stay with us. We love you, and we shall 
keep you such a little time. In a few years at most you 
m *y go where you will. We shall not be here to stop 

Pippin was moved by her tears, and might have put off; 
his purpose. But at this point his father spoke, in his 
thin, slow voice. 

He spoke to his wife. "Let us hear what it is that he 
wants," he said. "And he must speak to us quite plainly. 
Freedom is a good thing for a young man. I do not 
blame him for desiring that.". 

Then Pippin understood two things : first that he must 
speak out freely all the discontent that had been growing 
in his mind now for weeks past, even at the risk of hurting 
those whom he loved ; and second, that if his mother would 
hold him back his father would help him to know his mind, 
wise old man that he was, and with something to show for 
his close upon eighty years of experience. 

But his mother broke in. "Freedom !" she echoed. "I 


tell him that he is free now, in the house and on the land. 
Both are as good as his already, and will be his very own 
in a few years, when we are both gone." 

"He is not yet of an age to be held by possessions," 
said the old man. "And no man is quite free who is tied 
to a house and land." 

"How you talk!" said his wife sorrowfully. "It is 
what you have worked for night and day, year in and 
year out ever since we were married." 

"Ever since we were married," the old man acquiesced 
with a bend of the head. "Pippin, do you not value what 
I have gained for you by the toil of my hands and my 

"Oh, yes, I do," cried Pippin. "I love my home, and 
yet I want to leave it. I don't know why." 

"You must find out why, if we are to give our consent 
to your going," said his father drily. "You are young 
yet, but you are old enough to know what is in your own 
mind, and if you do not, to discover it." 

"Well then," said Pippin shamefacedly. "I find life 
very dull." 

"Dull !" echoed his mother, shrilly, holding up hands of 
horror. "You have your own horse to ride. You are 
not tied to any work that you need do. You can hunt 
in the winter and play games in the summer. You have 
friends to play with, boys and girls, and they are made 
welcome here." 

"I see no new faces," said Pippin. 

"Old faces are better than new," said his mother. 

The old man spoke again, holding up a thin hand for 
silence. "Now listen," he said. "I have seen this com- 
ing ; for I see many things, though I do not stir from my 


chair by the hearth. Pippin, you have everything that 
a man can desire, and yet you find it dull. Why?" 

"I don't know," said Pippin after a pause. "I find it 
dull, but I don't know why." 

"Then I will tell you. It is because you have not won 
it for yourself. If you had you would cling to it, as I 
do still, though I am very old." 

Pippin had nothing to say to this. He only knew that 
the good house in which he had been born, and the fair 
acres around it, seemed like a cage to him. His life 
weighed heavily. There was nothing to look forward to. 
He was tired of play, and it was true, as his mother had 
said, that there was no work he need do unless he liked. 
He had everything that he ought to have wanted, and he 
wanted none of it. But for the old folks, how gladly would 
he have given up his inheritance and gone out into the 
world to make his own way. Anything would be better 
than this life of stagnation, which, stretching in front of 
him through illimitable years, now seemed insupportable. 

His father spoke again. "You shall go away," he said. 
"You shall go away for a year ;" with his hand he stilled 
his wife's cries of remonstrance ; "for a year you are not 
to come back for any reason, and you may stay longer if 
you wish. I will give you a little money, but not enough 
to keep you for a year. You must work for your living, 
in any way that pleases you." 

"I am strong enough," said Pippin. "I can do that if 
you wish it." He did not want work at that moment. 
He wanted freedom. 

"I do wish it. You must learn to value what I have 
gained for you, and that is the only way. I tell you that 
you are a fool to hold it so lightly, but my telling will 


not mend your disease, which is that of youth. You 
want to see the great city?* 

"Yes," said Pippin. • 

"Very well, then. Go and see it, and find out for your- 
self that if its streets were paved with gold, as foolish 
people think them, they would not be worth exchanging 
for the pleasant acres you will soon call your own. See 
the crowds of people who live there, and then think of the 
faces of your friends whom you now despise. See strange 
and curious sights, and learn to hunger for the quiet fa- 
miliar places. Earn your bread and remember the plenty 
that you had for the asking. Go where you will and do 
what you will, and find out that a man without a tie is like 
a kite without a string. I do not blame you for not know- 
ing these things. But they are true, and that you must 
learn for yourself ." 

Pippin was quite prepared to accept all this as true; 
but all the same he wanted to get away. 

"You must take the road," his father went on. 
"Travel light and make friends with all sorts. Hear 
what you can of the lives of other men and women." 

"That is what I want to do," said Pippin eagerly. 

"You have your share of the curiosity of youth," said 
his father drily; "and a knack of sympathy. You will 
hear stories, and you must try and profit by them. Walk 
through the country till you come to the city, and walk 
back again when your time is up. Never care about 
where your next meal is to be found, or where you are to 
lay your head at night. You will get most out of your 
journey in that way." 

And now Pippin was gay and excited again. His 
father had called him a fool and gone near to chiding 


him, but he had shown too that he knew what a young 
man wanted. To walk through the fair country in the 
budding spring, to meet unknown and therefore interest- 
ing people, to see how life went, away from this quiet 
patch of country soil, to eat and drink and sleep where 
he pleased, and in a new place every time, to have the 
desired city as his goal : this was enough for him at pres- 
ent. What should come after could wait. "When may 
I set out?" he asked. 

His mother, almost weeping, began to babble of clothes 
and provisions and countless preparations, but his father 
cut her short. 

"Set out to-morrow at dawn," he said. "We will bid 
you good-bye to-night. When you have learnt wisdom 
from the men and women you meet on your travels, a little 
pity and perhaps a little love, come back to us, my son. 
You will find us waiting here for you, if you do not put 
off your coming too long. 3 


That was the memory Pippin bore with him as he 
breasted the long hill between the primrose-studded banks : 
two old people by the hearth by his home, one bidding 
him go forth from it, the other pleading with him to stay ; 
and it made him a little sad, even on the threshold of his 
adventure. For in both voices he had heard the note that 
comes before the end, and, old as his parents were, he had 
never yet thought of them as ready to leave him, how- 
ever ready he might be to leave them. 

He was glad that it had not been necessary to tell 
them that he had meant to set out at dawn that morning 
in any case. 

He came to the crown of the hill, and his spirits rose 


again. He was in a country of rolling down, grey-green 
on the chalky ridges, with the cloudy purple of massed 
budding trees in the hollows, and little farms and cottages 
sheltering among them, here and there, as far cs the eye 
could reach. The blue sky and the strong upland wind 
were all about him, and he stepped out bravely down the 
long descent of the curving road. 

On the slope of a hillside a mile away, flanked by ricks 
and barns and a dotted orchard, he could see a white 
house with a red roof, and he kept his eyes fixed on it as 
he strode down the broad hedgeless road, until he dropped 
into a furrow of the downs and lost it for a while. 

But presently he came up to the house. It stood very 
pleasantly, its shoulder towards the sun now topping the 
hill which sheltered It from the keen easterly winds. A 
little river, crossed by a hand-bridge and widening below 
into a gravelly ford, ran between it and the road. Be- 
yond the water was a grassy slope ; and a long white pal- 
ing with a little gate in the middle of it enclosed a garden 
which the flowers of early spring were already beginning 
to make gay. There were clumps of daffodils, many- 
coloured primroses, white arabis and yellow alyssum* 
modest hepatica and violets, and a shrub of daphne, whose 
pink flowers are braver than its leaves. Other plants, 
more lie-a-bed than these early heralds of colour, were 
pushing up strong tufts of green in the borders, and 
against the wide porch of the house a tree of japonica 
stained the white wall red. 

But pleasanter to Pippin's eyes than these gathered 
signs of the happy spring was the house-door open, and, 
framed in the doorway, the figure of a girl looking across 


the flowers and the grass and the brook to the white road 
along which he was coming. 

This was his cousin Alison, whose grandfather had been 
cousin to his own, — Alison, whom he loved, not as a man 
loves his mistress, but as he loves the sister with whom 
he has laughed and played in his childhood, with perhaps 
a little love of another quality added, because they have 
not quarrelled so often. 

She loved him too, whether as a brother or not she kept 
to herself, for women do not tell those things until they 
are asked. At any rate there was no more than sisterly 
regard in her kind brown eyes and on the full red lips of 
her mouth as she came down the brick path between the 
flower beds and through the gate to meet him. 

She came down the grassy slope to the little bridge. 
The wind sliding down the hill caught the skirts of her 
dress and blew them about her straight young limbs. 
And it made tiny pennants of the looser locks that 
crowned her broad brow. A splendid type of budding 
womanhood she was as she leant against the slant of the 
wind, not caring for it at all. The flesh on her face 
was firm, and her soft skin seemed to glow with the warmth 
of sunlight. She had been bred in the sun and the wind ; 
she was clean and sweet and supple ; a girl to delight any 
man's eyes, even the eyes of a brother. 

Pippin came on to the bridge to meet her, and they 
stood together leaning against the rail, in full view of the 
windows of the house. They had nothing to hide, neither 
lover's shame nor lover's sweetness. 

"Alison !" cried Pippin. "I am so glad. Why are you 
up so early? Did you get up to say good-bye to me?" 


She might have said that that was the last thing in her 
mind; that she had risen early for her own purposes, 
and had chanced to see him coming. Many girls would 
have said that. But it would not have been true, and 
Alison was very frank and truthful. 

"I thought," she said, "that if you went away this 
morning you would go very early and by this road. So I 
•at at my window, and when I saw you at the top of the 
hill over there, I dressed and waited for you." 

"That was like you, Alison," he said. "Of course I 
should come by this road — the road to the town — for I 
must get to know men and women. And I should start 
at dawn, so as not to lose a moment of my first day. You 
always understand." 

She looked at him squarely, her eyes limpid and search- 
ing. "Do they understand?" she asked. 

"My father does. He told me to go. He knows that 
every man must follow his desire, whether it keeps him at 
home or drives him out into the world." 

"Yes ; a man must follow his desire, but a woman must 
sit still and wait till hers comes to her." 

"Why, Alison, how wise you have grown in a night! 
You did not talk like that when I told you of my plans 
only yesterday ." 

"Little shreds of wisdom often come to one in the night, 
Pippin. I suppose your mother took it hardly." 

Pippin's honest face clouded, and he looked down at 
the running water. "Yes, she did," he said. "She is 
growing old — I never thought of it till yesterday — and 
she wants to keep me at her apron strings." 

"Till the time comes when she wears none. It is the 


way of mothers. You must not think too much of it, 
Pippin. You will have a merry time, in spite of your 
mother's tears." 

He looked at her doubtfully. "You mean that I ought 
not to go," he said. 

She looked away from him, with a flush on her cheek. 
"Oh, I don't know what I mean," she said. "If you must 
go, you must. It is not for me to blame you. But a 
man's 'must' often brings grief to a woman. Their ways 
are not the same." 

His gaze rested on her, still doubtful. She met it, and 
her mood changed, April-wise. "That is all, dear Pip- 
pin," she said, smiling at him, though her eyes were a 
little moist. "I came out to wish you good luck and the 
best of journeys. I don't feel bitter about your going — 
not at all. You will come back and find us all just the 
same. And oh, how glad we shall be to see you !" 

"I don't know that I ought to go after all," he said. 

She gave a little clear laugh. "Of course you must 
go," she said. "I will not keep you a moment longer. 
See all that you can. Be kind to old people and poor 
people, and women and children; but I know you will be 
that. It is what you do for others that will teach you 
things, not what you do for yourself. There! That is 
another little piece of wisdom that came to me in the 
night. Take it with you, Pippin. It is the parting gift 
of your friend Alison." 

Her eyes were more than a little moist now, and his 
were soft as he looked into her brave clear face. "I will 
remember that, dear Alison," he said gravely. "I need 
not go just yet," he added, as she held out her hands to 
him again with a gesture of farewell. 


"Yes, go now," she said. "When you have something 
in front of you, don't linger. But tell me one thing. 
Was it only because this road leads to the town that you 
came by it this morning?" 

"That was the reason," he said stupidly, "The other 
leads to the sea." 

''Well, good-bye, Pippin," she said, with a little sigh, 
"and don't forget the people of your little world when you 
find the big one. We shall always be thinking of you." 

So a second time he was bidden to fulfil his purpose, 
and at once. He went off long along the chalky road into 
the eye of the sun. Three times he turned back to look 
at her standing on the bridge with hand-shaded eyes. 
When he had topped the hill and waved her a last fare- 
well, she turned too, and went up the grassy slope, through 
the little white gate, and along the brick path between the 
flower-beds into the house. 




On these rolling downs innumerable sheep were feeding. 
It was now the heart of the lambing season. The winds 
had been keen, but there had been little rain, and ewes and 
lambs alike were strong and healthy. Pippin's practised 
eye marked them with pleasure as they moved over the 
short grass in pairs, the big mothers with their load of 
fleece, and the little, white, long-legged lambs with their 
innocent faces, never far away from the source of their 

The ewes would stand to look at him as he passed by on 
the road, bleating a warning message to their lambs if 
they should be more than a yard or two away; and the 
lambs would look up at him too, with more confidence, and, 
it really seemed, with some curiosity. 

What was this tall creature with no wool on its body, 

moving along on that hard place where there was no 

grass, and never turning aside to crop any? No lamb, 

certainly, and if a grown sheep then a very poor sort of 

one, with none of the habits or qualities which made of a 

sheep the chief being in the universe. Useful, perhaps, 

if a lamb should find itself lying on its back in a deep rut 

and unable to move. Then a mother could do nothing 

but bleat, not even give a prod of the nose to help; but 

one of these rather suspicious-looking creatures would 

come along — they were always about with their long 



crooks— and have you out in a trice, glad enough to have 
legs once more to get away from it as quickly as possible* 

What! Those ridiculous-looking creatures, who 
couldn't even bleat properly, on a higher level than that 
of lambhood and sheephood? Nonsense! 

What! Lambs brought into the world with immense 
care, and given great tracts of grass to eat and play 
over, so that their wool could afterwards be stolen from 
them to clothe these monsters, who could also kill the 
finest lamb that was ever born, without a tear of shame, 
and eat its flesh with as much pleasure as the lambs 
sucked the milk of the ewes? Absurd ! If you feel merry, 
leap and skip among the daisies. Don't amuse yourself 
with such follies as those! 

A little way from the road on a slope facing south was 
a large railed-in enclosure, and a shepherd's hut. Pippin 
stepped across the turf to give good morning to two shep- 
herds who were standing over a wattled pen. They were 
the first men he had seen that morning, and it was an hour 
since he had said good-bye to Alison on the bridge. 

The shepherds had taken a dead lamb from a ewe. 
Another ewe they had robbed of a twin day-old lamb. 
They had dressed the living lamb in the skin of the dead 
one, and the business in hand was to make the mother 
believe it was her own, and suckle it. 

The poor creature, but a year old, and already a prey 
to the cares of motherhood, wanted her little one, but 
could not be sure that this was it. The lamb, troubled 
by no such doubts, ran after her, bleating piteously, a 
grotesque figure in its trailing cloak. She nosed it curi- 
ously and seemed to be half-satisfied, but when it poked 
its nose under her fleece in search of the desired suste- 


nance she was off again, knocking it oyer as she went, with 
no trace of the care she would have shown to her own off- 
spring. It was her own and not her own. She was 
seized alternately with a mother's anxious tenderness and 
a mother's terror of loss. 

At last the men drove the lamb into the pen, and the 
ewe after it. They hemmed her in a corner and held her 
from moving while the lamb drew its nourishment, its 
forelegs doubled, its tail shaking with a frenzy of satis- 
faction. She stood quiet for a time and then broke away, 
but was driven back again. At last she stood quiet of 
her own accord and the lamb was fed. 

"She'll take to it," said Pippin, leaning over the rail- 
ing, as the sheep regained her freedom. 

The shepherds moved away. One of them was old and 
bent and grizzled. The other was a lad. 

"The first we've lost yet," said the boy. " 'Tis a good 
year. 5 ' 

The old man said nothing. He had trodden the downs, 
by day, and often by night, ever since his childhood, so 
long ago that he had forgotten what it was like to be 
young. He knew the ways of the weather, what was do- 
ing between the clouds and the winds, and what preparing 
in the starry hollows of the sky. He could tell the time 
better than a clock, and the day of the month, if not of 
the week. The faces of the sheep were as distinct and 
various to him as the faces of men. He knew every one 
of the thousands under his care. With his helpers he 
counted them over every day, and sometimes twice a day. 
He could not tell one letter or one figure from another, 
but he could count a flock of sheep, pouring in a huddled 
scurrying mass through a gate, infallibly. He was a 


mine of curious lore, which he lacked the power to im- 
part. He was immeasurably wise, and immeasurably 
ignorant. His shabby prick-eared dog, with its eye al- 
ways on his gnarled face, was his familiar. He spoke 
to it by signs, and it would be off and away in obedience 
to a motion which a man could scarcely distinguish. 

To men he spoke seldom. He did not speak to the hills 
and the sky, and they were his companions. They, and 
the sheep, spoke to him, and he heard them; but they 
spoke another tongue. His understanding of men's 
speech was rusted, by long years of solitude. 

On the face of the youth the same, stamp of taciturnity 
had already set its mark. But for him there was still a 
world apart from the silent world of the downs, whose 
silence he was slowly learning to be resonant with life, 
full of sound and movement to one whose ears were at- 
tuned to it. There were girls to love and boys to laugh 
with, games to be played, rare holidays, mighty meals 
to be devoured in good company, rough music, with danc- 
ing and kissing on the green. The world of striving men 
and women, laughing and crying, always hoping, always 
suffering disappointment, was still part of his world, and, 
on the threshold of that other world of silence and slow 
endurance, he could still find words to speak of it, still 
give a welcome to those who knew it not. 

And yet the life of the ancient man who had outgrown 
the need of human companionship, of the youth whose 
face was set on that road, and of Pippin, eager for the 
life of strife and action, were of the same weft. All must 
set out to know ; and the old man, whose deep knowledge 
was not of books, nor taught of men, but of the secrets 
of nature, had fulfilled his being in a way not given to 


many. For his knowledge was locked up in his mind and 
would die with him, but who could say that it would die 
utterly in the sum of things, since God's pleasure it is to 
be prodigal, and yet to waste nothing. 

There was a shout behind them, and Pippin turned to 
see the master of the farm coming across the turf. He 
was a tall powerful man, straight and free-moving. The 
hair under his felt hat was slightly grey, his face was 
weathered to a ruddy tan, and two rows of very white 
teeth gleamed in the midst of it. He might have been 
forty years old, or ten years older than that, or even ten 
years younger. Such men as he age so slowly that they 
seem to stand still. They take up their manhood when 
their beards begin to sprout, and hold it, almost unchang- 
ing, until suddenly they are old men; and their age, too, 
they hold so lightly that, suddenly again, they are broken 
up and laid aside until the end comes. Their life is the 
same at seventy as at twenty, and but for their children 
and afterwards their grandchildren growing up around 
them they would be almost without signs to mark the pas- 
sage of the years. 

There was no taciturnity about this farmer. He was 
a very hearty talkative man, glad enough to exchange 
words with a stranger and give his tongue the exercise 
that it sometimes lacked on these bare uplands. He eyed 
Pippin in a friendly manner as he gave him good morn- 
ing, and asked where he had come from. 

"Ah!" he said, when he had received an answer, "that 
is a country I was never in, though I have heard my 
father talk of the wonder of its trees of fruit. But he 
has been dead these thirty years, and was always a bit of 
a gad-about, the good old man." 


Pippin's home was but nine miles off by the winding 
road, but the steep hills lay between that country and 
this, and they used different towns for their marketing. 

The farmer took out of his coat pocket a big bottle on 
which a label announced that it held some man's celebrated 
sloe gin. But it had nothing stronger in it than warm 
gruel, which the farmer had fetched from his home for 
the sake of a ewe whom the pains of labour had well-nigh 
made an end of. 

She stood in another wattled pen, her newly born twin 
lambs, bleating and uncared for, on the grass by her 
side. The farmer seized her muzzle in his hands and 
forced down her throat the strengthening medicine. She 
struggled half-heartedly, but presently she had swallowed 
it, and, its comfort running through her, began to tend 
her little ones, turning her attention first to one then to 
the other, patient of the double burden nature had laid 
upon her. It is so with mothers. They bear what is 
sent them and glory in their cares. 

"Now you have had your breakfast, old gossip, we will 
go and have ours," said the farmer. He gave some direc- 
tions to the two shepherds, and moved off again quickly, 
Pippin walking by his side. In that hospitable country 
a traveller becomes a guest with no bandying of words, 
and Pippin was glad enough to follow his host, for, though 
he had bread and meat in his pocket, breakfast is a meal 
at which warmer cheer is welcome, and one which is best 
eaten at a well-laid table. And he had been walking for 
over two hours, and was sharp-set. 

On the other side of a ridge, half a mile away from 
the sheep folds lay the farmer's house of grey stone, with 
a steep roof of thatch. They approached it from behind, 


and the grass ran right up to the door. What garden 
there was could not be seen from here, and the house 
looked bleak and windswept, though the deep thatch and 
the morning smoke gave promise of warmth and comfort 

The promise was amply fulfilled, as the farmer, always 
talking, led the way into a great stone-flagged kitchen, 
of which the roof was hung with fat hams swathed in 
sacking, and the walls gleamed with polished metal. The 
farmer's wife, a stout comely woman with a smiling face, 
stood by a big table with a rough white cloth, upon which 
the dishes were already smoking ; and round about it were 
ranged a family of children from twelve years of age 
downwards, boys and girls, rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed, a 
pretty bunch of strong-growing human flowers, of which 
any parent might be proud. 

"Here's a stranger, mother, come from the country over 
the hills, and been travelling on his own legs since the 
sun was up. He'll empty a plate quicker than you can 
fill it, I'll warrant ; but there's enough for all, and if not, 
the children can go without for once." 

A look of dismay spread itself over the smiling faces 
of the children, but gave way to open merriment as they 
took the jest, one after the other, the eldest boy leading, 
and the two-year old baby, clinging to its mother's skirt, 
closing the chorus. Life was a merry thing in this kind 
home, and with such a father, even for a two-year old, who 
could laugh at what others laughed at and need not 
trouble to find a reason for laughter beforehand. 

Pippin took the baby and tossed it in his strong arms* 
They appeal to kindly youth, these little creatures, with 
their self-protecting confidence, and pretty unexpected 


ways. The good wife beamed on him, and the older chil- 
dren took him at once into their fellowship. Presently 
he sat down to a great plateful of eggs and bacon and 
fried potatoes, with a hunch of home-made bread, well 
buttered, and steaming bowls of coffee; and for a time 
only the farmer's voice was heard, who seasoned all good 
things with talk, when there was anybody to listen to him, 
only ceasing when his head was on the pillow. Hard 
work, good food and sound sleep, with his wife to aid his 
welfare, and his children for playfellows: that was his 

There was one child of the bunch, a little boy of per- 
haps five years old, who seemed to be his father's partic- 
ular pet and plaything; for he sat beside him at the end 
of the table, plying a busy spoon, and every now and 
again the good man would look down at him and pass his 
hand over his smooth shaven poll. "The little priest," 
he called him. "A tiddy bit for my little priest," he 
would say, and put some dainty morsel on the little child's 
plate. And the child, who had indeed something of the 
solemn detached look of those who feel their minds on 
great mysteries, would take it gravely, and eat it, looking 
in front of him out of big, round eyes. 

"Why do you call him the little priest?" asked Pippin 
presently, for, although with his more alert mind he saw 
some conformity in the name, he did not suppose that the 
child's father, whose understanding was little above that 
of a peasant, used it for any subtle reason. 

There was a stir of expectation round the table. 
*What !" exclaimed the farmer. "Have you never heard 
of how I brought home the priest? Isn't that story told 
in your parts?" 


"No," said Pippin. "I never heard it." 

"Well," said the farmer, "it is plain that you live very 
much out of the world. But it is five years since it hap- 
pened, and I should have thought it was common property 
by this time." 

"Let me have it," said Pippin, "A good story carries 
a man far, and it is true that I have lived a good deal out 
of the world." 

The farmer gathered together the fragments that re- 
mained on his plate and put them into his mouth. Then 
he drained his cup. And then he gave a great laugh. "I 
don't know that I can tell it as well as it deserves to be 
told," he said. 

But it was plain, from the eager, grinning faces of chil- 
dren and the complacent smile of the good wife, that, 
in their opinion at least, half the merit of the story lay 
in his telling of it, and without further excuse he em- 
barked on the tale of how he brought home the priest. 




"You must know," said the farmer, laying his hand on 
the head of the child, "that when this little chap here was 
born, my good wife was very near leaving this world for a 
better one. All the others had come easy, and in the way 
of nature, and but for the lying up, and things at sixes 
and sevens in the house and about it, from the want of the 
mistress's eye, 'twas nothing but a warm welcome for 
another little one, and no trouble of it at all. 

"Well, the wise woman was here in due time, who knows 
the road by which a child comes into the world as well as 
any, and an easy road it was to this house, as she told us. 
She was a merry soul and knew how to keep up a woman 
in what it is given to women to go through, both with 
cheering words and clever comforting ways. Food and 
drink she loved at the proper times, and stint of them 
was what she couldn't bear, though in houses where she 
knew living was hard she would share with the rest and no 
words about it. Everywhere she did her best — a good 
woman, and knew more about birth and death than 

"There was no lack of the good cheer she loved in this 

house, and whether it was that she took too much pleasure 

in it, which I don't say, for it was not her habit when 

duty was to be done, or whether she was a trifle careless 

over what had always gone so well that you might say 



there was little for her to do, or whether it just came so 
from none of her fault, I don't know, but about half past 
ten at night as I was sitting in front of this very fire, in 
that chair you see there, in she bounced with a white face 
and called out, 'You must go and fetch the doctor at 
once. 5 

"I was up out of the chair as quick as ever you saw, 
I won't say but what my eyes had been shut, for by nine 
o'clock I am used to be under the bedclothes; and, not 
looking for anything unusual, you understand, I was not 
as wrought up as you might say a good husband ought to 
be, with his wife in labour. 

" 'Take a cart', she said, 'and bring the doctor back 
with you, drunk or sober,' and with that she was out of 
the room again, and had never so much as looked at what 
was spread out on the table for her, ready for when all 
should be over. 

"By that I saw there was nothing to be done but go off 
as quick as might be. There was no love lost between the 
doctor and the wise woman. She took the bread out of 
his mouth, he said; but it wasn't bread he would ever 
complain of missing where there were strong spirits to be 
had, which it was the common talk he lived on, and could 
swallow as much in a day as would lay you or me up if we 
took a week over it. He's dead now, and I won't say he 
drank himself to death, because that wouldn't be right of 
a man who has gone where everything that can be said for 
him will be said. But if it wasn't so I don't know any- 
thing, nor the coroner's inquest either. But this I can 
say for him with a clear conscience: he was as good a 
doctor as any, and even when he was in liquor there was 
few to beat him for quickness and cleverness. So he was 


much thought of, in spite of his weakness, and he had a 
way with him too that you couldn't help but look over it. 
There's no man but has his fault, and you've no call to be 
harder on another's than you are on your own. 

"I put to the mare in double quick time, and felt lower 
in spirit every strap I buckled. But that I needn't talk 
of, nor of what I thought as I drove off over the hill on a 
wild snowy night. I wished half a dozen times I had gone 
up to have a look at the good wife there, and said good- 
bye, in case it was too late to say it when I came back. 
But then, again, I thought I might have wasted a minute 
or two, and life and death sometimes hangs on a minute. 
And with that I hurried up the mare and pushed on in 
the teeth of the wind. 

"I was doubtful how the doctor might take it, to be 
asked to come out a matter of five or six miles, and on 
such a night. I'd never had him in my house since my 
old mother died, ten years before, and he might say, 
*Where you don't want me I don't want you.* And I knew 
that he didn't like being fetched out of a night at all, not 
even in the town, for he would sit over the bottle, with one 
or two more like himself, very often, and then it was 
'home's best,' the same as with many more who are free of 
his habits. But come he should, like it or not — that I 
made up my mind to, as, the mare and me, we battled 
against the wind. 

"I reached the town at last, where there was some 
shelter, and we clattered over the stones between the 
lamps at a good pace till we came to the doctor's house. 
It was a big, old house, right on the street. I let the 
mare stand, for she wouldn't budge till I gave her the 
word, and rang the bell pretty loud. I rang it twice 


more before they opened the door to me, and I didn't 
leave much time between the ringings. But as I waited I 
saw I had come at a bad time, for the two windows of the 
dining-room, which was on the left as you went in, were all 
lighted up, and by the noise that came from behind them I 
knew that the doctor was drinking with some of his cronies, 
and they had got very far into their cups as well might 
be, for it was nigh upon midnight. 

"So I made up my mind what to do. I went back to 
the cart and got a thick sack that I had wrapped round 
my feet, and when I had rung again and was let in I was 

"The doctor's old servant opened the door. She had 
her hand to her side and her face was frightened. She 
said something, though what it was I took no notice of 
at the time, for directly the door was opened I pushed 
past her into the hall, and opened the door of the room 
where I knew I should find her master. 

"As I got into the house the noise seemed to swell 
double, and the moment I was inside the room, if you'll 
believe me, there was a crash and the light went out. 

"I didn't get more than a glimpse, but I saw half a 
dozen men maybe, round the table, some of them standing 
up, as if they were quarrelling. One had got a bottle in 
his hand and was swinging it over his head, and just as I 
came in he struck the lamp over the table, and out it went, 
as I said. 

"Of course there was a flurry, and everybody talking 
at once; but I had no time to busy myself over their 
drunken quarrels. I had seen the doctor standing up by 
the table, and not so drunk as he might have been. So I 
went up to him in the darkness and caught hold of his 


arm and said, 'Come out of this at once, doctor, 'tis a 
matter of life and death, and there's a cart and a good 
horse outside.' 

"He pulled his arm free, but I wasn't going to let him 
go like that, so I made for him again and seized hold of 
him more firm — I could see a trifle then from the light 
through the crack of the door, which had pushed to be- 
hind me. 'Not another minute will I stay in this wicked 
house,' he said, and some more that I didn't take hold of. 
'No more you shall, doctor,' says I, thinking he was far 
gone in drink so to miscall his home. 'Come quickly now 
and leave the rest to fight it out between them' ; for fight- 
ing there was in the dark, and such a hubbub as never was 
with it all. 

"Well, to make an end of it, as he didn't seem willing 
to come quietly, I slipped the sack over his head, and tak- 
ing him in my arms, for I was a big man and he was a little 
one, out I went with him through the hall and bundled 
him into the back of the cart. The servant had gone off, 
frightened very like, and left the street door open, or I 
shouldn't have got him out as easy as I did, for he strug- 
gled like a madman, and I had to keep his head jammed up 
against my shoulder to stop him shouting. 

"He didn't let out more than one shriek after I got 
him in the cart, for I tied my neck handkerchief round his 
mouth, as well as I could tell where it was through the 
sack, and passed a rope round his arms. Then I got up 
into the cart — the old mare had stood like a Christian 
through it all, just looking round once to see what sort of 
a squealing pig I was loading up with, as she thought — 
and off we went over the stones. Time enough too, for 
windows were going up all around us, and just as I turned 


round and made off they were coming to the door of the 
doctor's house and shouting at me to stop. 

"Little I cared for it all with what I had in front of 
me, and with the wind behind us we soon got into the open 
country and were travelling at near double the rate at 
which we came. I threw my own rug over my gentleman 
in the sack, for it was bitter cold, and 'You've come on an 
errand of mercy, 9 I said to him, 'and shall be as snug as 
I can make you. 5 He was still struggling a bit. 'Keep 
it up, doctor, 5 1 said. 'It will drive the drink out of you, 
and when you have done what I've brought you to do — 
and please God it won't be too late to do it — you shall 
fill your belly with what you please.* 

"I was lighter in my mind now, and it seemed no time 
before we were home again. 

"I left the mare standing before the door and ran into 
the house. The wise woman had come down to meet me. 
Her face was quite different. 'A stout boy,' she said, 
'and all as comfortable as can be.' 

" 'Thank God,' I said, and all my troubles seemed to be 
behind me. 

" 'Have you brought the doctor?' she asked. 'Little 
good he'll be, but if he's here he had better come up' ; and 
she peered out of the door. 

" 'I've got him here,' I said ; and with that I went out 
and carried in the sack, and laid it tenderly in front of 
the fire. 

" 'Lord save us !" said the wise woman, 'what's 

"I undid the rope and the handkerchief and pulled off 
the sack. The wise woman shrieked out, and as for me I 
fell back in my chair with my mouth open, so I believe, 


and no power to utter a sound. I had brought the wrong 

The children round the table laughed in chorus at this 
crowning point, all except the one they called the little 
priest, and he played with his spoon and looked before 
him. Pippin laughed with them, and the farmer laughed 
louder than any. 

"Yes," he went on. "When I thought to see the little 
drunken doctor getting up from the hearth rug, there was 
a little priest, as sober as you please, and a man that I 
had never set eyes on before, for we are not much in the 
way of priests here, and none had entered the house before 
to my knowledge. 

"He was a little doubled-up ferrety fellow with red 
eyes, and he stared round on one side and another, blink- 
ing at the light, just like a ferret coming out of a rabbit- 
hole. He was near frightened to death too, I didn't blame 
him for that, he not being a man of courage to begin 
with, as I thought, and, for all he knew, tied up in a sack 
and driven off to be murdered. 

"The wise woman ran to the table and poured out a 
glass of brandy. 'Twas the first thing she thought of. 
I helped him on to his feet, all shaking, and 'There's been 
a sad mistake, your reverence, 5 I said. Tm not one to 
throw scorn on a holy man, though his beliefs and mine 
are not the same.' 

"He swallowed down the brandy, and some of his wits 
came back to him. I didn't wait for him to speak. 'My 
wife was in labour,' I said, 'and it was going hard with 
her. I set out to bring the doctor, willy nilly, and in his 
state I judged it best to put the invitation in a way he 
couldn't refuse. 'Twas the darkness and the fighting that 


misled me, and you being in a house where such things were 
going on, I hope you will put the things out of your mind, 
for which I heartily beg your pardon. 9 

" 'I went into that house,' he said, 'which stands next 
to my own, to rebuke the drunkenness and the revelry, 
the doctor being a son of the church, though an erring 
one'; by which I saw that the priest had more courage 
than I had given him credit for. 

" 'Quite right, your reverence,' I said. 'And if you 
will fall to over the food and drink that's on the table, 
late as it is, I will go out and look after the mare, and then 
when I have just stepped up to see how my good wife is 
going on, and the little chap that has been sent us, I will 
sit down and join you.' 

"The wise woman had gone upstairs, and I took up 
the sack without further adb and went out to see to the 
mare, who had been standing quiet in the shelter of the 
house with a rug over her. When I had made her snug I 
came back, and there was the priest still in front of the 
fire and the victuals on the table untouched. 

" 'Now do sit down and fall to,' I said to him. 'Punish- 
ment for wrong doing I'm not one to grizzle about, but 
that a man should refuse to take food and drink in my 
house, as good as I can offer him, that hits me hard. 
There's a deep bed of feathers upstairs all ready, and a 
roaring coal fire will be there by the time you have 
warmed yourself with the good cheer. And I will drive 
you back home myself in the morning, when you say the 
word. Forgive me my rough handling,' I said, 'and let's 
be friends.' 

" 'I must have the child,' said he, peering up at me out 
of his little weak eyes, and taking no notice of my words. 


"I stared at him, for I didn't know what he would be at. 

" 'You owe me something/ he said, and that I wasn't 
denying. 'You are a heretic,' he said, 'and I'm not for 
troubling about you, at present. But the child I will 
have, to be baptised into the true church, and that is how 
you will pay me.' 

"Well, I was taken aback, as you may think, but it 
was true that I owed him something, and if that was the 
way he chose to be paid for what he had suffered, I didn't 
know but what he would have to have his way. I wasn't 
so much set against his religion as soma that I know of, 
so I didn't say no, though I didn't say yes. 'Ill go up 
and see my good wife,' I said, 'and afterwards we'll talk 
about it over a plate and a glass.' 

"So I took off my boots and crept upstairs, and there 
was all as it should be, and touches a man's heart to see, 
the mother weak and worn with striving, but smiling and 
happy, and close to her the little tiny creature that knows 
nothing about it all yet, though the love that brought it 
into the world is wrapping it round. Ah, it gives the man 
something to think about, the birth of his child, and so 
you will know, young sir, when you grow older and beget 
children of your own. 

"I didn't stay long, but kissed my wife and touched the 
little chap's cheek, and came down again to look after the 
priest, first seeing that all was right in the room where I 
hoped he would sleep sound after all he had put up with. 

"Well, over our supper — and a hearty meal we both 
made of it — we struck the bargain, the priest and I. 'It 
is true I owe you something,' said I, 'for the way I have 
handled you, and you shall baptise the child into your 
church in due time, for one church is as good as another. 9 


" 'It is not,' he said. 'There is only one church, and 
I will baptise the child into that. But he must be brought 
up to know where he stands. I will see to that; for to 
this godless place I have just been sent, and here I will 
stay till I bring the truth to many homes.' 

" 'That's as you please,' I said. 'The rest of us will 
stay where we are, parents and children, but this child you 
shall have the training of, for a bargain's a bargain, and 
I'm not the man to go back from mine.' 

"So we settled it, and the priest supped well and slept 
warm, and I drove him back to his house the next day 
with the sack round his legs instead of over his head, and 
every now and again I laughed out loud at what was in my 
mind. And the priest said, 'Ay, you may laugh as you 
will. Your laughter pays for a soul saved from everlast- 
ing sorrow.' However, that's as may be. 

"When the time came the baby was christened in the 
priest's church. A rare to-do it was too, and the good 
wife as pleased as she could be over it, though she never 
said as much." 

The farmer's wife shook her head, but the smile on her 
face belied her action. She had her own sphere in life, 
and outside it whatever her husband did was right. 

"There's no one more welcome in this house now," said 
the farmer, "than that brave little ferrety priest. All 
has turned out well, and our little priest here, so we call 
him, to keep in mind the merry tale, why he's as good as 
gold, and his reverence thinks so much of him that there's 
no telling what he won't make of him by and by. But to 
think it all came about from that — me catching hold of 
him and throwing a sack over his head and tying him up 


and driving him home here, as innocent as a baby of what 
I was doing — why — !" 

He ended in a burst of laughter, leaning back in his 
chair and throwing his eyes up to the ceiling. The rest 
all laughed in chorus, except the child over whom the bar- 
gain had been struck. He sat solemn, and his wide eyes 
gazed in front of him, like the eyes of one who has been 
initiated into some mystery, so that much of the laughter 
of the world goes by him as a thing of no account. 



"Well, I must be getting back to the sheep," said the 
farmer, when breakfast was over, and Pippin said, "And I 
must get on to the road again." 

The farmer had been so busy talking ever since they 
had met that he had asked Pippin nothing about himself, 
except whence he came. Now he looked at him with a 
trace of curiosity and asked where he was bound for. 

"I am going to the big town," said Pippin, with a youth- 
ful blush ; but the farmer spared him further questions, be- 
ing more interested in himself and his own than in others* 

"That is a place I was never in," he said. "In this 
house I was born and here I have lived all my life. Here, 
too, I expect to die when the time comes. Stick to your 
hearth, say I, if you have one to stick to. But some are 
not so fortunate." » 

Pippin thought over this as he took the road again, 
having bidden good-bye to his kindly host, who put him on 
the way, talking all the time of his own affairs, and to the 
good wife, who stood at the door to see him go, her rosy 
children gathered about her skirts. 

"It is elderly men," he said, "that make so much of the 

home at their backs. For them, and for children who 

need protection, and for women, it is the best place, as I 

can see. But for my part I was very tired of it, and now, 

hurrah for the road again !" 

Pippin now left the high down lands and dropped into a 



well-wooded valley. The noble forest towards which his 
steps were tending, and through which he would have to 
journey on his way to the town, was still many miles dis- 
tant; but in bygone years the whole of this country had 
been forest, and the trees and the fern and the woodland 
glades had stretched to the very escarpments of the chalk 
hills over which he had just come. 

There were still left islands of uncleared land in the 
midst of all that had been tamed to support mankind. 
Pippin crossed a brown heath, dipping and rising, and 
more than once walked between ranks of great trees, and 
peered on either side into the recess of a deep wood. 

But mostly the land was cultivated. Broad fields of 
ploughed earth were covered with a wash of green, where 
the seeds were sprouting, there were pastures in which fat 
kine were grazing, and untenanted hayfields. Farmsteads 
were frequent and the cottages of day-labourers, tiled or 
thatched, with low casement windows, each in its little plot 
of garden ground. And sometimes these cottages would 
gather together, and, huddling close, one to the other, 
would make a little village, in which there were shops and 
an inn, and, a little apart, an old church, with its schools 
and its parsonage. Pleasant villages they were, and 
warmed the traveller who passed through them, with 
thoughts of home and a life of content and tranquillity. 

Pippin, marching along the broad high road, sang aloud 
for joy. The sun was now high in the heavens, the black- 
birds piped in the budding woods, the larks carolled above 
the meadows, and the strong clean April wind pushed the 
cloud argosies across the blue spaces of the sky. He had 
come to a country that was new to him, and he tasted the 
joy of his adventure. He was in the full tide of his youth- 


f ul vigour. His blood, stung by the spring, raced merrily 
through his veins, his bones were hard, his muscles like 
fine tempered steel. He felt as if he could walk for ever 
through the beautiful morning world. Anything might 
happen to him, and he was ready for anything that might 
happen. He could go where he would and do what he 
would, and there were none to say him nay. And, however 
much he might linger by the way, he had a purpose in 
front of him: to come at last to the great town, and see 
what manner of life was lived by those at the heart of the 

At noon he stopped at a wayside inn to refresh himself 
and rest his limbs, for he had now been walking many 
hours, and, although his spirit was still strong within him 
and his mind set on motion, his body cried halt for the time 
and he was glad enough to obey it. These halts by the 
way are not the least pleasant part of such an excursion 
as his. Rest and refreshment for the body when it has 
willingly done its work are very sweet. But in idleness 
they lose their savour. 

The inn stood by the roadside, away from other houses. 
A swinging sign, of the head of some great man or other, 
hung where its invitation could be plainly seen, and above 
the door was an inscription which showed that the land- 
lord committed no illegal act in serving wayfarers with 
any kind of liquor they might want. A big trough under- 
neath the sign held water for the horses, whose choice was 
limited and easily satisfied. Under the fall of the low 
eaves was a wooden bench and a rough table, upon which, 
when the weather was agreeable, men might sit with their 
glasses at hand and be entertained by talk and the pag- 
eant of the road. 


The sun shone warm, and the wind which had blown so 
freshly across the downs was here felt only as a light 
breeze. Pippin went under the low door of the inn and 
ordered what he wanted, and presently the landlord 
brought it out to him — the half of a crusty loaf, cheese 
and butter, and clear ale in a tankard. He was a tun- 
bellied man, with a cheerful face, as a good landlord ought 
to be, who himself thrives on the food and drink he 
provides for others. 

He asked Pippin where he had come from, and, when 
he was told, laughed and said that it was many years since 
he had walked so far in a day, although in his youth there 
were none to beat him. 

**You wouldn't think, to look at me, that when I was 
your age I was as thin as a hop-pole, would you?" he said, 
and Pippin replied that he should not have suspected it. 

**With some," said the landlord, 'flesh comes year by 
year whether they eat and drink or whether they stint 
themselves. With others it don't come at all. That 
being so, eat and drink your fill, say I, and make the best 
of what's sent you." This dictum, suitable for a man of 
his calling, the landlord repeated twice, and then went 
indoors to look after his business. Pippin was left to his 
meal, which he enjoyed hugely. 

By and by he saw coming along the road a curious 
figure of a man. He was dressed in a black coat that had 
still the remains of respectability, a very shabby pair of 
trousers, and a pair of boots so old that his toes peeped 
through them. He wore a straw hat that had once been 
white, and when he came closer Pippin saw that his shirt 
was clean and new, although no collar had been added to 


Any tramp of the road might have been dressed thus, 
in the cast off clothes of more fortunate people ; and the 
shirt he might have stolen. But this man, in spite of his 
attire, did not look like a tramp. He had a pointed white 
beard, beautifully trimmed, and his hands were slender, 
and quite clean. He was like a man of birth, masquerad- 
ing as a vagabond, and he walked with the step of a gentle- 
man of consequence, or as much so as his battered boots 
would allow. 

"Now who and what is this?" said Pippin to himself 
as the man approached, and he shifted a little in his seat 
and made a motion with his plate, so as to shew that if he 
chose to take a seat by his side he would not be unwelcome. 

The man seized upon the slight courtesy instantly, and 
magnified it into an invitation. He took off his scare- 
crow's hat with a flourish and said in a rather mincing 
voice: "I thank you most sincerely, young gentleman. I 
had intended to go on to the next village before I dined. 
But since you are so generous as to offer me your hospital- 
ity I will not refuse you." He looked at what was set be- 
fore Pippin. "Bread and butter and cheese, a tankard 
of ale, and all of the best," he said. "It is a feast fit for 
a king, and I will willingly join you. Shall I call the 
landlord, or will you?" 

"Well, I think you had better," replied Pippin, "if 
you want anything of him. I gave no invitation, and 
meant none, except that I was ready for your company if 
you chose to give it me." And he went on eating. 

The man sat himself down on the seat beside him with- 
out a word. He looked straight in front of him, his thin 
hands resting on the crown of the stick between his knees. 

When Pippin had eaten a few more mouthfuls and 


drunk a big draught from his tankard he began to feel a 
trifle uneasy; but he saw that his companion was acting 
in this way for some purpose of his own, and determined 
that he would not be the first to speak. He stole a glance 
at the man's face, and could make very little of it. It was 
thin, but not, he thought, with the thinness of hunger. 
The well-kept beard, and the well-kept hands, seemed to 
show that he was not what his clothes betokened him to 
be; but of any sign of what he really was his face was 
empty. And at the moment it was quite expressionless. 

Twice or thrice more Pippin stole a glance at him, and 
at last he intercepted a side-long look at his fast-empty- 
ing plate. It was withdrawn instantly, and had evidently 
been taken as it were against the will. But its meaning 
was unmistakeable. The man was hungry. 

"Oh, come now," said young Pippin, good naturedly. 
"If you want a meal and can't pay for it, say so, and eat 
and drink at my expense. But I'm not to be caught with 
the sort of chaff you tried just now." 

The man's attitude changed like magic. "My dear 
sir," he said, volubly, "I accept with the very greatest 
pleasure in the world, although I assure you that nothing 
was farther from my thoughts than to ask for your hos- 

"There are more ways of asking than with the tongue," 
said Pippin, and he called the landlord. 

"Hullo!" said mine host in the doorway. "Here's the 
Gentleman Tramp again! Why it must be a year or 
more since you were last on this beat." He grinned all 
over his broad face as he spoke, and Pippin understood 
that the gentility of his companion was not of the kind 
that claims respect. 


"If you will kindly take the orders of my young friend 
here, and keep your clownish greetings for your own 
cronies, rustic George," said the traveller with unmoved 
assurance, "you shall have our further custom. If not 
you may go and drown yourself in a barrel of your own 
watery beer, and we will go where we can get better." 

"Hark at him now!" said the landlord, greatly de- 
lighted. "It's his impudence that feeds him from one end 
of the land to the other. No more a gentleman than I am, 
and never did a hand's turn in his life! Well, he's got 
hold of you, young sir. What is it to be?" 

Pippin gave his order, and the landlord, his fat sides 
shaking, went indoors to carry it out. 

"These rustic boors," said the Gentleman Tramp, when 
they were left to themselves, "want keeping in their place. 
Because I choose the life of the road, which is the best 
life in the world, instead of growing old before my time 
between four walls, and because I choose to wear old and 
easy clothes, which are the best to travel in, every clown 
of them all thinks he may sharpen his clumsy wit on me. 
If this fellow provokes me any more, you shall hear me set 
him down." 

He spoke with an air of great dignity, and Pippin eyed 
him askance, not knowing what to think. But, remember- 
ing the impudence of his greeting, and his side look at the 
food, he held his tongue and waited for what should follow. 

The landlord came out with the fellow to Pippin's re- 
past. He was still grinning. "Don't begin till you have 
put that inside you," he said. "You'll do it better. If 
you could manage to wait till the afternoon I would make 
it worth your while up to a pint or two. My old woman 
has gone to market, and it's a shame she should miss it. 



"When your company is wanted, landlord, it will be 
asked for," said the Gentleman Tramp, applying himself 
with ill-disguised eagerness to his food. "I don't know 
what the world is coming to. Before I left my home to 
walk about the country, a man of your quality would have 
thought himself honoured to sit down with my servants. 
And if he had behaved himself as you do the meanest 
scullion of them all would have refused to eat with him. 
Go back to your pots and barrels, you toping pot-bellied 
oaf. You make the sweet air rank with your greasy pres- 

This invective was uttered fluently but not with any 
passion, and its effect was somewhat marred by the move- 
ment of the speaker's jaws. The landlord maintained his 
expectant grin, but it was plain that he was not quite 
satisfied. "The invention's there," he said, "but it don't 
come right somehow. You eat and drink your fill, my 
man, and what the gentleman doesn't pay for I will. 
You'll do better after you've got through with your 

"Before you relieve us of your presence, which we 
haven't asked for and don't want," said the Gentleman 
Tramp, "I should like to know what has become of that 
pair of boots I left with you the last time I passed this 
way. Presently you can bring them out and I will change 
these for them." 

"Pair of boots!" echoed the landlord, looking down 
at the Gentleman Tramp's dusty disreputable feet. 
"You've made a mistake. Are you sure it wasn't a hat* 
now? I've got a pretty fair hat put by somewhere. I 
thought it was an old one of my own, but I may have been 


"Well, perhaps it was a hat. It was one or the other. 
Go and fetch out the hat, and I will see. The season is 
not quite ripe for the one I have on." 

The landlord went inside with a wink at Pippin and 
returned with a hard felt hat, square in the crown, which 
the tramp took and looked at critically. It was old and 
well-worn, but it was a king of hats beside the one he had 

"You have been wearing it yourself as I might have 
expected," he said as he tried it on. "Men of your class 
have no more conscience or honesty than a magpie. You 
would steal the plate off your grandfather's coffin when 
you opened his grave to bury your father. But I will 
take it, and you can have this one instead, which you can 
either wear to church on Sundays or hang up in your 
parlour and boast that it was given to you by a scholar 
and a gentleman." He handed his filthy straw to the 
landlord, who took it with a bow. "It has tiled in a deal 
of knavery," he said. " 'Twill serve for a boggart, and 
frighten off the crows better than most." 

The encounter ended with some disappointment to Pip- 
pin and a good deal to the innkeeper, for the Gentleman 
Tramp now rose from his seat, saying to Pippin, "Follow 
me when you have settled with this low fellow," and went 
off down the road with his walk of a man of consequence. 

"A rare rogue," said the landlord, looking after him. 
"But he gets older, and I doubt that he is losing some of 
his powers. When he can no more cozen honest men he 
will die in a ditch. The life of the road is a hard life, al- 
though those who live it scoff at those who work. You are 
travelling for pleasure, I take it, and could ride if you 
wished to." He cast a shrewd eye upon his guest. 


"I like to go upon my own feet," said Pippin. "You 
see more, and I want to see all I can. I think the life of 
the road is a very good life." 

"It is a very good life for a time if you have money, or 
a home to return to," said the landlord. "Well, you will 
get plenty of entertainment from my fine gentleman there. 
But be wary. He is a most amazing rascal." 

Pippin thought that this was very likely the case, as 
he walked off down the road, some distance behind his 
late companion, who marched straight ahead without 
looking back; and he was in two minds as to whether he 
should not take a field path he saw just ahead of him and 
shake off the tramp altogether. 

"I don't know whether he thinks I am going to run 
after him and catch him up for the pleasure of his com- 
pany," he said to himself. "It would be like his impu- 
dence. Now, if he turns and waits for me before I get to 
that stile, I will perhaps go with him, for I shall get some 
fun out of him ; and as for his rascality, I am old enough 
and strong enough to look after myself." 

He came to the stile, and the tramp still marched on; 
but just as Pippin had his leg over the rail he looked 
round, and shouted at him. Pippin took no notice. "If 
he wants my company he can run for it now," he said. 

Then Gentleman Tramp, after shouting a little longer 
with no effect, broke through the hedge and came across 
the grass to intercept him. "What do you want to take 
this way for?" he asked angrily as he came up. 

"Partly because I like a field path, and partly to rid 
myself of your company," replied Pippin. 

The tramp eyed him askance. "The latter is very 
easily done," he said haughtily. "Why I, a man of birth 


and breeding, am willing to burden myself with the society 
of a clodhopper like yourself is explained by the fact that 
it is my pleasure to welcome all sorts of company in the 
life I have chosen. But if you are not alive to the honour 
that is being done you you have only to say so, and you 
*nay go your own stupid way by yourself ." 

Pippin's temper had been rising during this speech. 
He turned round in the path. "I have said that I don't 
want your company as plainly as I can speak," he said. 
"Be off on your road, and I will keep to mine." 

He turned and walked on; and the Gentleman Tramp 
followed in his footsteps. 

So they went one behind the other, across a wide 
pasture, through a little wood, and into a narrow lane, 
and neither of them spoke till they had covered a mile. 
Then the Gentleman Tramp said in his high-pitched, minc- 
ing voice: 

"When you said just now that you liked a by path for 
its own sake, you showed plainly that you were new to the 
road. You will never find those who know the life choos- 
ing any but the broad thoroughfares. Half the pleasure 
of tramping lies in what you see of men. You constantly 
fall in with new companions, — some good, some bad, but 
all of them interesting. If you slink along through fields 
and spinneys you meet nobody." 

"Is that the reason why you were willing to burden 
yourself with the society of a clodhopper?" asked Pippin. 
He had recovered most of his good humour. His con- 
tempt for the man behind him and his absurd pretences 
was mixed with some pity. It troubled him to see a man 
of years dependent on a folly, and so ready to swallow 
a rebuff. 


But it was not safe to grant an inch to the Gentleman 
Tramp, who now immediately stretched this one to an ell. 

"That was the reason," he said calmly. "Your face 
is a fatuous one, and evidently conceals behind it the least 
possible allowance of brain. Also, you are so young and 
green that you cannot yet possess any of that shrewd 
philosophy which ignorant people sometimes gain who 
know the world. But — " 

"But you have already got one meal out of me," Pippin 
broke in. "And you think that if you stick close to my 
heels and put up with rebuffs which no man of indepen- 
dence would take you may get more. To save disappoint- 
ment I will tell you now that I do not like your ways, and 
shall be of no further service to you." 

The Gentleman Tramp considered this. "My ways are 
those of a well-born gentleman," he said. "It is not to be 
supposed that you are familiar with them." 

"Since they consist in sitting down to a meal as a man's 
guest and then vilifying him," returned Pippin, "I have 
no wish to be. Now let us understand each other." He 
turned round again — they were crossing a corn-field — 
and faced his follower. "You are perhaps a man of some 
gifts, but you put them to very bad use. I am willing 
to go with you as far as our roads lie together, but we will 
drop this impudent pretence of gentility. You ape the 
gentleman because you earn your bread by your merry- 
andrew tricks. But it is quite plain to me that you never 
were one, and I am tired of your folly." 

The Gentleman Tramp laughed at him. "Lead on, fire- 
eater," he said. "You are a youth of some sense, after 
all. I think perhaps we may amuse one another for a 



The two now came out on to the high-road again, and 
walked side by side. 

"I know what you are thinking," said the Gentleman 
Tramp presently. "You are wondering whether, after 
all, it is true that I have no pretensions to gentle birth." 

"There is not much doubt about your pretensions," 
replied Pippin, with a smile. "They are loud enough to 
deafen one's ears." 

"They have to be," said the other calmly. "I earn 
what little keeps me alive by pushing them. Do you 
think, if I really behaved like a gentleman, I should have 
got this hat, for instance, out of our friend the landlord? 
A very good hat it is too, for a man of my present station 
in life." He took it off and looked at it inside and out. 
"Though I wish it had been a pair of boots," he added. 
"These are very far gone, and to tell you the truth, the 
pace you are setting tries them almost beyond their legiti- 
mate powers." 

Pippin immediately slackened his swinging stride. "If 

you are very much. in need of a pair of boots," he blurted 

out, with the shame of youth in doing a generous action, 

"and you certainly seem to be — I hope you will let me make 

you a present of some when we get to the next town." He 

was half sorry when he had said it, for the man had 

bounced him out of a meal already, and had insulted him 

afterwards; and who was to say that this new quieter 



manner was not simply another of his unscrupulous tricks? 

The Gentleman Tramp may have suspected what was 
passing through his mind. At any rate he did not in- 
stantly pounce upon his offer, as he had done before. 
"For the first time for some years," he said, "I will give 
myself the pleasure of refusing a gift. With the ignorant 
clowns who pay me for entertaining them it suits me best 
to appear an impudent impostor. With you, to whose 
young and honest face I have taken a liking, I would 
rather have the credit of being what I really am in spite 
of all my follies. I will tell you my story if you would 
care to hear it." 

"I should like nothing better," replied Pippin. "It 
will be the second story I have been told to-day ; but to 
hear about the lives that men lead, and to see them for 
myself, is what I have come out into the world for. And 
your story should be something out of the common." 

"It is a story of good opportunities wasted by folly," 
said the Gentleman Tramp, rather sadly. "That is not 
very uncommon, perhaps. But you shall hear it and see." 
He then embarked without further preface on 

The Stoey of the Gentleman Teamp 

I was born the elder son of a country gentleman of 
good lineage and fair estate. The house in which I was 
brought up, and which should now belong to me, was built 
by my grandfather's grandfather, who had made money in 
honest trade. That is good lineage as things go now- 
days, and I assure you that for four generations none of 
my family had soiled his hands with trade, honest or 
otherwise. We had lived handsomely upon what the 


founder of our house — I believe he tanned leather — had 
left behind him, taking money out of the land as befits 
a gentleman, but also putting in what was necessary to 
make it productive ; and none were the worse for our good 
living through near two hundred years, but many, who 
worked for us, much the better. 

The house stood in a park of fine trees. Whenever I 
think of it, which you may believe is not very often now, I 
think of the room in which I slept as a boy — a large, 
square room facing west. If I could sleep in that room 
once more before I die, I would — well, I think I would even 
undertake to drop my vagabond habits. I should like to 
see again the shadows of the tree*, draw along the thick 
grass at sunset, and the rooks follow one another across 
the evening sky. 

There was a big window, from which a great deal could 
be seen. I slept with it wide open, so as not to lose a 
moment of each new day, in which there was so much to 
do and to see. Even now, when there is not quite so much, 
I would rather sleep where the sun will call me than under 
a roof. In my childhood, so many years ago, it was al- 
ways my ambition to lie under the stars, and I remember 
the first time that I did so, in the boughs of a tree in my 
father's park where I had swung a hammock, and the 
trouble there was about it when I was missed in the morn- 

I also remember vividly a room built on the wall at 
one of the gates. It was built after the French style and 
looked on to the road. There was a great plane-tree ovei> 
shadowing it, standing on a patch of grass by the road- 
side. The lodge was on the other side of the gate. I was 
allowed to use this room to play in, and I sometimes stood 


for hours at the window gazing out on to the road and 
the people who passed. I would have given a great deal 
to join them. My roving tendency was alive even in those 
early days. But the gate was kept locked, and I was not 
allowed to go through it. 

Another memory that comes to me — but I try to keep it 
off — is the little old church in the park, where we all used 
to sit in a great square pew, my father, big, and, I must 
say, now that I know more of the world, rather pompous, 
and looking as if he thought that a good deal of what 
we went to church to do was in his own honour, as per- 
haps some of it was, for he was the most important man 
in the place by far, and most of those who stood and knelt 
there with us were dependent upon him ; my mother very 
gentle and collected ; and my little brother and I on either 
side of her; while the old man in the reading desk or the 
pulpit droned his way through the service, and we could 
see the birds flying to and fro through the clear glass of 
the east window. 

I envied the birds their freedom during those hours of 
confinement, which were very irksome to me then. My 
head was full of plans for the open air, and that is per- 
haps why they come back to me, for it is thought and 
not action that stamps the memory, and a child seldom 
thinks when he can be doing. And there was the atmos- 
phere of peace and protection, which strikes me now 
that I am getting older as a very delightful thing. With 
all its attractive qualities, the roving life is somewhat 
lacking in that atmosphere. 

Well, childhood is soon over, and I will weary you with 
no further details about mine, which was a happy one, 
as I see now looking back upon it, although in those days, 


like most children, I was anxious to be grown up, and 
my own master. 

I was wild and troublesome from the first. A character 
such as mine is given to a man before he is born, most 
unfairly as I think, for it will plague him all his life, 
and, unless circumstances are very much in his favour, 
bring him very quickly to ruin. Nobody could have had 
a better upbringing than mine. My father was rather 
impatient and quick-tempered, but he was a kind and up- 
right man and anxious to do his duty by the son who 
should succeed him. My mother was a good, gentle and 
very patient woman. She may have loved my younger 
brother better than she did me, but that is not to be 
wondered at, for he was rather frail in health, and a sweet 
child, clinging to her very shadow and never quite happy 
away from her. But she made no difference in her treat- 
ment of us, as far as she could help it; it was I who 
refused to be tied to her, and was impatient of her warn- 
ings, and even of her caresses. I was so abounding in 
life and spirits that I could not be still in the house for 
a moment, and even the wide bounds of my beautiful home 
were too narrow for me. 

I suppose I was born without a conscience. If I had 
one it has never troubled me much, and runs a very bad 
second to worldly prudence in deterring me from any 
action which might bring unpleasant consequences. But 
I had so much of everything that I could possibly want 
in my young days that I was preserved from committing 
any grave fault, and until I was twelve years old and 
first went to school I had done nothing that the world 
would call bad. 

But directly XjH^l^hfllLI * OUIM * that what I had 


considered the confinement of my home was blissful free- 
dom compared with the discipline I now had to undergo. 
So I determined to run away, and did so without any 

I might not have been seriously blamed for this fault 
had I not stolen money with which to make my journey. 
This horrified my father, who was a man of strict honour. 
He gave me a very hearty thrashing and sent me back 
to school again, where I was, of course, a pariah among 
the masters and the other boys for what I had done. 
It was a mean and unpopular boy whose money I had 
taken, and he had plenty of it. Also he was paid back. 
But that did not prevent his being raised into a martyred 
hero, or me from being ill-treated. 

So I ran away again, and having no money of my 
own and having learnt by bitter experience that it did 
not do to help myself to that of others, this time I walked, 
begging my way over the hundred miles or so that lay 
between the school and my home. It was my first taste 
of the freedom of the road, and I should have enjoyed 
it if it had not been for what awaited me when I came 
to the end of my journey. 

I think it is a melting thing the way a child clings to 
his home and the thought of it. I remember, at that same 
school, a little boy who slept in the next bed to mine. 
His mother had died when he was born and his father 
hated him for it, but he cried himself to sleep every 
night out of longing for his home, such as it was. So 
I at that time made for my father's house. I did not 
know what he would do to me, and I feared the worst; 
but my mother was there, and I should sleep again in my 
own familiar room. 


I got another sound thrashing, but I was not sent back 
to school again. Indeed, they refused to take me, and 
I was taught at home for a year, always under the 
displeasure of my father, who could not forget that I 
had been a thief, nor let me forget it. Here I think he 
was wrong, but I will not blame him, for it would have 
been impossible for him to steal, and he was unable to 
understand that if he had forgiven me my fault and said 
no more about it I should have been ashamed, instead of 
irritated, and might better have grasped the merits of 

At any rate I was glad enough a year later to leave 
home for school again. I was sent to — but I will not 
tell you the name of the school. It was an ancient and 
royal foundation, and I have reflected little credit on it. 
I sometimes come across old school fellows filling places 
of honour. More than once I have been committed to 
prison by men I have played and worked with, for va- 
grancy or some such offence, but I have not made myself 
known to them. They were, as far as I could see, quite 
sufficiently pleased with themselves and the part they 
played in the world, and it would have been harmful for 
their souls if they had been allowed to compare the 
heights to which their good conduct had brought them 
with the depths to which I, their one time companion, 
had sunk. Besides, they would have thought it necessary 
to moralize, and I dislike above most men your moralizing 
magistrate. To my mind he cuts a poor figure beside 
the prisoner, who is ready to take his punishment when 
he shall be allowed, while the man who has condemned 
him to it will go home to be surrounded by every possible 
inducement to pi 


I did not want to run away from the big school. I 
enjoyed my life there. My early peccadillo was not 
known, and I started on fair terms with masters and boys. 
The good opinion of the former I did not retain for 
long. I was idle and troublesome. But that did not 
damage me with my school fellows, except perhaps the 
best of them, with whom I did not consort. I stayed 
there for five years without getting into very serious 
trouble, learning because I could not help it a little of 
what I had been sent there to learn, and a good deal 
of what I had not. 

Then I went to the University, with a good allowance, 
which, however, was not nearly large enough to compass 
the many new desires which I instantly began to form. 
I must have horses to ride, and others to gamble over, 
wine and merriment, women, cards, expensive clothes and 
jewelry, and all the toys with which the ill-regulated 
mind of youth seeks to engage itself, when present pleas- 
ure is everything and future advantage a thing to scoff 
at. The old Latin poet — fragments of whose wisdom 
still cling to me — hat described such a one as I was- 
in my beardless youth: — wax to the bent of vice, impa- 
tient of those who would have crossed me, slow to lay 
up useful treasure, prodigal of money, aspiring and 
greedy — and the rest of it. 

It seems to me that, knowing me as he did, my father 
was wrong to send me to the University at all. It is a 
bad place for the sons of rich men, with vicious inclina- 
tions. The small measure of discipline, which is enough 
for the well-regulated, hardly more than whets the appe- 
tite of those of my kidney. Opportunities for running 
into debt are almost unlimited, and indeed pushed at you. 


You are doing no useful work, for your future prospects 
do not depend upon how you acquit yourself, as is the 
case with those who have no expectation of wealth beytmd 
what they earn for themselves. You consort with those 
who are situated like yourself, or who, to their undoing, 
would like to be. You have companions to aid and abet 
you in whatever folly you take in hand. And if you 
manage to scrape through your three or four years with- 
out falling into disgrace, you go away that much older 
than you came and no better fitted to face the life that 
lies in front of you. 

I need not say that with my inclinations, and the 
lack of conscience with which I have already charged 
myself, I was not long in such a place before I fell into 
disgrace. When I had been there a year I was enop- 
mously in debt, but had committed no flagrant fault. 
The debts were of such a sort that I had to disclose 
them to my father. He paid them in full, and I am 
glad to remember now that I proposed to him that I 
should not go back to the University but should do some- 
thing in the *way of actual work instead. Whether I 
should have been saved, if he had consented, from the 
ruin that afterwards fell on me I am not quite sure. 
Further follies I should no doubt have committed, but 
with something in life to occupy me they might not have 
been so serious, and in time I should have woke up to 
to the value of what I should be throwing away if I 
persisted in them. At any rate I had that much grace 
in me that, whitewashed as I was by my father's gener- 
osity, I did not want to walk back straight into tempta- 
tion, although my gratitude did not carry me so far 


as to resist very vigorously when the opportunity for 
wrongdoing again occured. 

My father had gone through his own University course 
with some credit, and his father before him, so he shut 
his eyes to what was likely to happen, and told me that 
I must go back and reform in the very place where 
reformation was most difficult. I said good-bye to my 
mother, who was very tender with me, and to my younger 
brother, who was all that I ought to have been, and 
was very fond of me, though I did not deserve it, and 
drove away from my home in an easy frame of mind. 
If I had but known it, I had crossed its threshold for 
the last time. 

With a very short interval I plunged again into the 
courses which had already brought me to grief, and if 
anything with increased extravagance, for I now had to 
find pleasure to drown the sense of wrongdoing which 
had to some extent arisen in me, as well as to satisfy 
my naturally voracious appetite. I gambled, among other 
things, more wildly than ever. At first it was mildly, and 
you might say within my rights, for I did not succumb 
altogether without a struggle. And unfortunately I 
won, continuously and for some time. That spurred me 
on, and of course there came a time when I lost very 
heavily. I had no means of paying a big debt, and I 
could not go to my father again. At least I thought I 
could not. I believe if I had and he had treated me 
with forbearance — it would all have depended upon that 
— I might have reformed from that time. The first check 
had been too easily surmounted, but now I was fright- 
ened of myself, and for the time, at least, sick of my 


But my fright drove me to the last ruinous one. I 
forged my father's name to a cheque, and immediately 
I had paid my debt with it woke up to what I had done, 
and ran away. 

You may believe that this time I did not make for 
my home. What I did was to walk straight out of my 
rooms with a walking-stick, and nothing else but what 
I stood up in, and what was in my pockets. I had a 
favourite spaniel, which I had brought from home, and 
of course, he wanted to come with me; but I was out 
of the mood for his gambols, and I locked him in. I really 
did not know at that time whether I was going away 
for good or should come back after a long walk in the 
country. I made no plans at all, but obeyed the instinct 
to get away from my troubles. 

But as I walked, for hour after hour straight on, I 
know not where, except that it was in the opposite direc- 
tion to that in which my home lay, I woke up to the fact 
that I was in flight, and that although I had not known 
it had been flight from the moment I took up my hat 
and stick. Having once realised that, you will find 
it difficult to believe that my spirits rose with a bound; 
but it was so. I had wiped all the past away from me, 
and had leapt into a state of absolute freedom. The 
prospect of walking through the country — it was in the 
spring, rather later than it is now — with nothing and 
nobody to bind me, was delightful. I had enough money 
for my immediate purposes, and as I had never known 
the want of it, as far as the necessities and most of the 
legitimate luxuries of life were concerned, and had never 
been used to looking forward, it did not trouble me much 
that there would come a time when what I had should 


be exhausted. Tired as I was, I shouted up to the eve- 
ning sky, and I believe I cut a caper in the road. 

You may see here, if you like, nothing but the evil of 
my nature, but also, if it please you to be generous, some 
little spice of good. On the one hand all the sorrow 
and dishonour I was bringing on those who loved me 
was nothing, because I myself had escaped them, and 
my own dishonesty was nothing; on the other hand my 
pleasure at the prospect of a life in the open air, devoid 
of all the accessories and excitements of wealth, showed 
that I had in me tastes which if they had been properly 
cultivated might have outbalanced the impulse to excess 
which had brought me down. However, it had lain with 
me if anybody to cultivate them, and I had not done so. 
And no doubt you will say that the evil far outweighed 
the small amount of good. 

At any rate, the idea of what might be called a pro- 
longed walking tour did immensely exhilarate me at the 
time; although if I had foreseen that it would last prac- 
tically until the present day, my joy might have been 
somewhat dashed. 

I ate and drank at an inn on the road, and walked 
on afterwards into the night. Then I lay down to rest 
in the loose hay under the shelter of a stack. I was 
very tired, for I had walked above thirty miles, but I 
could not go to sleep at once. My thoughts were melan- 
choly now. I realized that I had cut myself off from 
the love of home, and even from the companionship of 
my fellows. And one of the causes of my downfall had 
been that I set great store by companionship. 

As I lay looking up at the stars, comfortable enough 
in body in my warm nest, but rather sad at heart, I 


heard a scuffling noise near me in the stillness of the 
night. I sat up instantly, in alarm, and found myself 
overwhelmed by the joyful caresses of my dog. He must 
have got out of my room on the first opportunity, but 
how he had succeeded in tracking me all those miles is 
one of those wonders of animal intelligence which cannot 
be explained. He soon snuggled down by my side and 
I was pleased enough to have him with me, now that 
my loneliness was beginning to be apparent. Here was 
at least one creature in the world who loved me, and 
would still have loved me if I had been twice as bad 
as I was. My melancholy disappeared and I slept sweetly 
throughout the night. 

As long as my money lasted, and afterwards the pro- 
ceeds of my jewelry, which I sold, I kept going, some- 
times walking a prodigious number of miles in a day, 
sometimes idling in a place that suited me. I was quite 
happy. I suppose I was much in the same position as 
I take you to be in now, a young man in the full tide 
of his strength and energy who travels for his pleasure 
and interests himself in everything and everybody he sees, 
having enough to pay for food and drink, and a bed 
if he wants one, and asking nothing more of life for the 
time being. I was so entranced with the freedom and 
the change of my life that even if I had gone back 
after the first few months of it to my proper station, I 
think I must always have broken away every now and 
then to tramp the country, I found the people whom I 
met on the road and in the wayside inns every bit as 
interesting as my old companions, and when my appear- 
ance as a gentleman had somewhat altered, and they took 
me more readily into their company, there were roaring 


times of good fellowship, and a vagabond life which was 
not always overclean, but to which I adapted myself quite 

My wants were so few that even with what I spent 
on others, for I was still prodigal of my money as long 
as I had any, I did not become destitute until the summer 
had gone by. By this time I had sunk pretty low. I 
had fallen sheer from a class somewhere near the top, 
to one at the bottom of the tree. Partly from youthful 
bravado, partly through circumstances, I had made my 
companions of the vagabonds who are beneath the or- 
dered ranks of society, and boasted that they were as 
good and far more amusing fellows than those above 
them in the social scale. So they were as long as I 
was a sort of king among them, with money in my dirty 
pockets and no great disinclination to part with it. As 
soon as I was brought down to live on my wits like the 
rest of them, I found them much the same as any one 
else, more interested in their own affairs than in mine, 
though there were good fellows among them. 



And now having wasted my substance and having found 
a diet of husks little to my liking, my thoughts, like 
those of that other prodigal, began to turn to my father's 
house. I knew what hunger was, and cold, for my sum- 
mer suit was thin and worn out, and I had no money to 
buy warmer clothes. I would tramp home, confess my 
faults, which had long since become patent, be forgiven, 
and take up my position again as a rich man's heir, 
having spent an agreeable summer in seeing something of 
that side of the world which is mostly hidden from men 
of my birth. 

It was a pretty programme, but it did not work out 
quite as I had anticipated. 

It was my little brown dog who upset my plans- He 
had been my constant companion throughout the sum- 
mer and I had congratulated myself a thousand times 
on his cleverness in finding me, though, perhaps, I ought 
rather to have congratulated him. I had come to a place 
I knew very well, about twelve miles from my father's 
house. I had intended to reach home that evening, but 
I had been making forced marches on insufficient food, 
and my boots had given out, and I came to anchor for 
the night in a larch plantation on the edge of a big 
covert, intending to push on early in the morning, get 
over the troublesome business of penitence and reinstate- 
ment, and sit down to a good breakfast in a clean suit 


of clothes. I had had enough of a roving life for the 
present and I looked forward with keen delight to the 
morrow as I lay under the stars, thinking hardly at all 
of the preliminaries which I should have to go through 
before I got everything that I wanted. 

But I was very hungry, so hungry that I could not 
sleep for it. I could hear the pheasants stirring on the 
boughs above me, and presently I said to myself that 
I must have one of them. I knew the man to whom they 
belonged very well, — I had often shot with him over this 
very covert — and I did not suppose he would grudge me 
one fat cock out of them all, even though the time had 
not come to kill them legitimately. We would even have 
a joke about it later on, when I had settled down to 
the blameless life of a country gentleman, as I now meant 
to do. Besides I was hungry and there was food for 
the taking, and I did not really trouble either about him 
6r the law. 

It was not difficult to bring down a bird with a stone ; 
I hit an old cock at the first try, but he was only wounded, 
I think in the wing, not killed, and when he came to the 
ground he ran way, and my dog, delighted at the sport, 
after him. Then there was a flash and a loud report. 
My dog was killed, and I was struggling fiercely with 
my hands at the throat of the man who had done it, 
while another was beating me about the head with a stick. 

They soon had me senseless and bound, and when I came 
to myself I was in the lock-up with a doctor attending 
my wounds. They were not serious and he soon had 
my head bound up. I knew him, but I could see that 
he had not the slightest idea of who I was, and something 
made me hold my peace for the present. I was as dirty 


and unkempt as any (ramp of the road, and I had grown 
a beard during my summer wanderings. 

I was brought before the magistrates the next morn- 
ing and my father was on the bench. He knew me the 
instant I was brought in, and his face went white. But 
he made no other sign, and allowed the proceedings to 
go on to the end. The man of whom I had thought 
to borrow a supper was also on the bench, and he was 
an angry man. I had trespassed on his land, I had tried 
to kill one of his pheasants, and I had maltreated his 
servant- So he did everything he could, short of an open 
scandal, to play prosecutor as well as judge, and as 
there was no doubt at all about the facts of the case, 
and I had nothing to say in my defence, my punishment 
was made as heavy as the magistrates were allowed to 
make it. 

The idea of spending some months in prison disturbed 
me a good deal more in those days than it would now. 
In fact I could not believe that it would happen. My 
father had sat on the bench throughout the proceedings 
without a word, and he had silently acquiesced in the 
rather ferocious sentence. "He must be turning over a 
means of getting me free," said I to myself, and, as he 
evidently and naturally did not want any one to recognize 
me, I assisted his cogitations by being careful to speak 
as little as possible, and then in a feigned voice. When 
I was taken away out of the room he did not look at 
me. "He will do something now," I thought. 

But it seemed that I had mistaken his intentions. I 
served my time in prison without once hearing of him, 
and my feelings towards him were the reverse of filial. 
But, partly out of shame, and partly because I still hoped 


to take what I thought my proper place in the world, and 
did not want to do so under such a stigma as I had in- 
curred, I did not disclose my identity, and nobody guessed 
it during all these horrible months. 

At last, when my time of release was drawing near, my 
father came to see me. I was ashamed, but my resent- 
ment was stronger than my shame, and I reproached 
him bitterly for not lifting a hand to save me. He lis- 
tened to what I had to say coldly, with a look of such 
steady aversion as brought my angry speech to a rather 
tame conclusion. 

"If you have quite finished what you have to say," 
he said, "I will speak," and then without any waste of 
words he told me that he had disinherited me in favour 
of my brother, and that if I ever attempted to enter 
his house again I should be arrested for forgery. 

This was such a stunning blow that I could only sit 
and look at him with my mouth open. He then went 
on to say that when I went out of prison I should find 
five pounds in the hands of the prison chaplain, with 
which if I cared I could make a new start in life. If 
in a year from that time I wrote and told him that I 
was earning an honest living — he did not mind in what 
capacity — and he satisfied himself that I was speaking 
the truth, he would help me further, although he would 
never see me again. If I preferred to waste the five pounds 
in what he called riotous living it was all one to him. 

I saw that this was so. He had lost all trace of fatherly 
feeling towards me, and only looked at me with contempt 
and dislike, for he kept his eyes on me all the time he 
was speaking. 

His attitude goaded me into renewed resentment. 



"You want to cast me off altogether," I cried. "You 
don't care whether I reform or not." 

"I don't believe you can reform," he said at once. 
"And if you press me, no, I don't care." 

The cold brutality of this speech struck me anew. 
There was something about my father, stern as he had 
always been, that I did not recognize. "Doesn't my 
mother care?" I said, bitterly, and struck him un- 

He seemed to shrink into himself and his face went 
white. "Your mother is dead," he said, and then he went 

Well, that was my start in life, my real start, for what 
had gone before had been only play. When I came out 
of prison I was in a state of extreme misery and des- 
peration, and I strove to mend it in the way taught me 
by the lowest of my late companions, and with the help 
of my father's five pounds. 

I am not a born drinker, or I should no doubt have 
been in my grave by this time. I drink when I can, and 
leave off when I have had enough. I soon grew tired 
of that poor form of consolation, which is none to a man 
of my temperament. I bought a new suit of clothes and 
took to the road again. After my time in prison freedom 
was enough for me. I had neither the inclination nor I 
think the capacity to follow my father's suggestion and 
to try and regain something of what I had lost by steady 
work. What could I work at, brought up as I had been? 
I was of use neither for the posts by which educated 
men earn their bread, nor for manual labour. Besides, 
I hated my father so at that time — I have forgiven him 


now — that to merit his approval was no spur to effort, 
and the date at which I would get more money from him 
was so far distant that I put the thought of it aside 
for the time. 

Well, you will say that I had had enough of the fruits 
of vicious idleness to have made me turn from it to any 
other course. But it was not so. I was a different 
man in some ways, but I was not a better one, and many 
of my old inclinations survived the shock I had under- 
gone. I had been a vagabond half in play. Now I was 
a vagabond in earnest, and I have been so ever since, for 
something like forty years. 

There are degrees in vagabondage. I am not altogether 
a rascal. I am the Gentleman Tramp, and the name 
fits me better than those who gave it me imagine. I 
have tastes which are not shared by my companions of 
the road, and I believe that some of the better ones have 
been brought out by my way of life, as they would not 
have been if I had lived in the ease and luxury to which 
I was born. 

At first I wanted money — more money than I see now 
to be necessary to a man who throws himself daily upon 
circumstance. And as there was no way of earning it 
that I cared to trouble myself about, I got it, as they 
say, by my wits. The race-course, about which I knew 
a good deal for a man of my age, seemed to afford the 
easiest opportunity, and for some time I was a diligent 
frequenter of race-courses, which I got to know better 
from the under-side than I had known them from the 
upper. But I got tired of that life, and the contrast 
between myself as I was and myself as I had been was 
painful. Besides I was recognized more than once by 


my former companions, and that was more painful still. 
If I had lost my hold on the old life I had not yet lost 
hold of it so long as to make me indifferent to the change; 
to my old friends I must have seemed a proper black- 
guard, and they showed me in various ways that they 
thought so. 

When I think of my own character as exemplified in 
those early years I confess that it interests me profoundly, 
as I hope it does you. I believe that my early transgres- 
sions were nothing worse than the sowing of a rather 
noxious species of wild oats, for which I was punished 
unduly. I was dishonest, but so are most people in one 
way or another, only they learn to hide it. They pray 
to Janus and Apollo out loud, and whisper a prayer to 
Laverna in secret — you are probably not scholar enough 
to understand the illusion. I should never have committed 
a stupid dishonesty again if I had got over that bad 
fence of the forgery. I have said that I never had any 
real taste for drink. The race-course, which had been 
partly responsible for my downfall, sickened me quite 
early, as no doubt it would have done if I had gone on 
seeing it from the roof of a drag instead of from amongst 
the wheels. I grew tired of greasy packs of cards as I 
should have done of clean ones. Yes, all these things, even 
dishonesty, which many estimable and highly considered 
gentlemen practise all through their lives, were so far 
from my real tastes, that I did not want them even in 
moderation after I had fleshed my youthful teeth on them ; 
and having given them up what did I do? I took to the 

I had been trained for the life of a country gentle- 
man. Supposing my youth had been exemplary, what 


should I have done after I left the University? I should 
have spent as much of my time as possible, winter and 
summer, in the open air, earning health, appetite, and 
sound sleep; and the more entirely I had devoted myself 
to field sports, the more I should have been thought of 
by everybody around me, especially my father. Very 
well then; in esssence that is exactly what I did do. I 
had sown my wild oats, and settled down — to the life of 
the road. 

I took it seriously, as I should have taken the other. 
I tramped the country winter and summer. I had no 
money, and I went without. I went without every other 
bodily luxury that varies the life of the most ardent 
wealthy sportsman. I never looked forward, but lived 
for each day as it came. And so does he. I did no useful 
work, and he does, or need do, none. I suffered hardships 
of necessity, as he does voluntarily; only he has ease 
to salt them and I had none, only liberty, which perhaps 
is better. I say that my life, take it day by day, has 
more merit in it than his, and that having sown my 
wild oats, if I had not been forced to reap them with 
such disconcerting rapidity, I should have been all that 
my parents or any one else could have desired me to be. 

This high pride with which the Gentleman Tramp ended 
the story of his fall from place and fortune differed so 
greatly from the melancholy confession with which he 
had begun it, and was so at variance with much of what 
he had cynically charged himself with during its recital, 
that Pippin, who was no fool, though he was young and 
generous, was not quite convinced by it. And the story 
was hardly finished. But it had taken a long time to 


tell, and they had now come into the streets of a thriving 
little town. 

"I am quite ready for a meal," said Pippin, "and I 
hope you will eat with me. And there are the boots to 
see to." 

"The meal I accept," replied the other. "I have earned 
it by the entertainment I have given you. The boots I 
will get for myself, and you shall see how." 

They walked on a little further, and the tramp led 
the way down a steep side lane to where an old man 
in a leather apron sat on a bench in a low doorway, 
cobbling a pair of shoes, and whistling cheerfully the 
while. He had white hair, and a large pair of spectacles 
on his nose. A parrot in a wicker cage chattered volubly 
by his side, but ceased when the strangers appeared, to* 
eye them suspiciously, his head cocked, muttering every 
now and then a reminder of his own beauty. There were 
geraniums in pots on the window-sill, and everything in- 
side the room was clean but v^ry poor. 

"Look at these boots," said the Gentleman Tramp in 
a loud and confident voice, very different from that in 
which he had been telling Pippin his story. "I bought 
them off you the last time I was in this town, and I 
vowed that I would wear them till I came here again to 
show you what sort of handiwork you fobbed off on 


The old man examined the boots closely, peering 
through his round spectacles, and then looked up at their 
owner. The black coat and the respectable hat, and the 
voice of command, outweighed the signs of mendicancy, 
which he was perhaps not keen-sighted enough to notice. 
"They have certainly had a great deal of wear, sir," he 


began, but the tramp interrupted him. "Do you deny 
that you sold them to me?" he asked. 

The old cobbler could neither deny nor affirm. He 
said he did not remember. "But if you say so, I suppose 
I did," he said. 

"Very well, then. You must give me another pair, and 
I will say no more about it. But you ought to be ashamed 
of yourself for trying to take in a gentleman in that 

The old cobbler's face fell. "I don't think, sir—" he 
began ; but here Pippin, who had been listening with rising 
indignation, broke in. 

"Give him another pair and I will pay for them," 
he said. 

"Generously said," said the Gentleman Tramp, "but I 
shall not allow my young friend to be cheated out of 
his money, as I have been. I demand a new pair of boots 
by right." 

"You will either take what I offer you or go without," 
said Pippin firmly. "Don't force me to say more before 
this old man." 

He faced him squarely. He was very angry; and the 
tramp, after a further look into his eyes, knuckled under. 
"You hear what the gentleman says," he said sulkily 
to the cobbler, and the old man, delighted at the turn 
the affair had taken, brought out a rough but strong 
pair of boots for which Pippin paid him a small sum. 

The Gentleman Tramp put on the boots and he and 
Pippin walked away in silence, pursued by derisive hoots 
from the now reassured parrot. 

When they came to the main street Pippin halted and 
said: "I think we will part here. I will give you money 


for the supper I promised you, but I want your company 
no longer." 

"Oh, come now," said the tramp. 4< You know my 
way of getting what I want." 

**Yes, and I call it a dirty way," replied Pippin, hotly. 
"As long as you exercise your buffoonery on such men 
as the innkeeper, who is willing to be imposed on, I have 
nothing to say. But to rob a man as poor as that old 
cobbler is a different thing, and shows that all you have 
been saying is not to be trusted. I will have nothing 
more to do with you." 

By this time the rudiments of a crowd, attracted by 
Pippin's honest wrath, had begun to gather. "Oh, very 
well," said the tramp, with his head in the air. "You 
and your supper may go hang," and he walked off loftily 
without turning his head. 

Pippin, after a short pause, walked off in the opposite 
direction, relieved to be rid of so undesirable a com- 
panion, but rather sorry that he had not heard more 
of his story, which had kept him interested throughout 
the afternoon's walk. 



Pippin found a modest inn and asked if he could have 
a bed for the night and a meal at once. 

He was told that he might have both if he could be 
content with a dish of bacon and eggs for his supper, 
and would share a room with another traveller. 

As to the first, he said that the proposed dish would 
do as well as any other if it were big enough, and as to 
the second, he would like to know who his room fellow 
was to be before deciding. 

"I will not deceive you," said the landlady. "He is a 
travelling pedlar ; but a very sober, honest man. He lies 
here every time he comes this way, and I would not 
turn him out if you were to fall down to me on bended 

"Many a man would be glad enough to do that," said 
Pippin gallantly. For the landlady was a very person- 
able woman, and had a twinkle lurking in her eye which 
betrayed her willingness to accept a pleasantry. 

"Go along with you," she said, in high good humour, 
"or Fll call John with a stick." And then she laughed, 
shaking from the chest upwards as full-favoured women 
do, and a merry laugh it was, "Well, will you take 
the bed?" she asked. 

Pippin said that he would, and went upstairs to wash 

the dust off him while his supper was being prepared, 



There was no sign as yet of the pedlar, who was per- 
haps replenishing his pack, but his bed stood against the 
wall some distance from Pippin's own, and there was 
plenty of room for both. 

Pippin was tired after his long walk, and ravenously 
hungry. The room in which he ate was a step below the 
pavement of the street, and he could see the people pass- 
ing to and fro. It was about seven o'clock of a fine eve- 
ning, and all the town seemed to be taking the air. 
"When I have rested a little," said Pippin to himself, "I 
will go out and see what sort of people they are, and 
what sort of a town it is they live in." 

The landlady brought him his supper, and looked in 
every now and then to see how he was doing, always 
with a word of encouragement to his appetite, which 
Heeded none. Towards the end of his meal she found 
time to linger, and, with an obvious curiosity, said that 
she supposed he would be off again directly he had fin- 
ished his business. She did not know what that was, but 
hoped she knew her place better than to ask. 

"Oh, my business!" said Pippin. "To-morrow it will 
be to walk until I find as cosy an inn as this, as good a 
supper, and as handsome a landlady. And the day after 
it will be the same." 

"Hark at him now !" she said. "It would be a bad day 
for us women if we believed all the non-sense that gay 
young sparks like you chose to talk to us. You've got a 
.sweetheart of your own at home, I'll be bound, and you 
ought to be thinking of her." 

"I've got a father and mother at home, and a horse 
and a dog," said Pippin; "and that is all I've got, and 


all I want." Perhaps he forgot his cousin Alison. Per- 
haps he did not want her name brought in. 

"Then you have come away from home to find a sweet- 

"Wrong again, my dear woman. But if I had I 
should go no farther than this town." 

"Oh, she is here, is she? I thought we should get at 
what brought you. Is she fair or dark, short or tall? 
Is her father a rich man or does he work for his bread? 
Is she young with a pretty face, or old with a fat purse? 
Does she make eyes at you, or pretend to scorn you? 
What street does she live in, and what house? I know 
all the marriageable maids in this town, and though I 
wouldn't ask a bold question for a fortune, give me a 
hint and I'll tell you whether to stay and see it through, 
or go back the way you came." 

"She is dark, plump, and comely," replied Pippin. "I 
don't know whether she has a father — or even a husband. 
She may have a fat purse for all I know, and I hope 
she has, but her face is better than the fattest purse that 
ever weighed down a pocket. She lives in this street and 
this house, and her name is — well, I don't know what 
your name is, but if you would like to change it for mine 
you are welcome." 

For answer the landlady put her hand out of the door 
and called out, "John! John! Come you here." 

Pippin went on eating and awaited the arrival of 
John, who came in with a touch of his forelock, wiping 
his mouth with the back of his hand. He was a man 
who lived amongst horses, as the shape of his gaitered 
legs testified. 


"John," said the landlady. "I have had an offer of 
marriage, and a good one." 

"Then I should take it, missus," returned John, 
promptly. "At your age they are not to be picked 
up every day." 

"You go out to your yard," said the landlady, sud- 
denly irate, and bustled the bow-legged chuckling John 
out of the doorway. Then she turned upon Pippin. "And 
you, young gentleman," she said severely, "don't you 
play off your impudent pranks on a respectable woman 
who is old enough to be your mother — at least, will be 
in five or six years' time — or a bit over. I've buried one 
husband, and a bad one he was to me, and if I take 
another it won't be a baby just out of his cradle, but a 
man of years and sense." 

"Such as our friend John," said Pippin, unabashed 
by this sudden change of weather. "I should think he 
would make you a good one." 

"If I chose to take him," said the landlady, tossing 
her head, "it would be a step up in the world for him 
and a step down for me." 

"Oh, never mind about that," said Pippin. "There 
are no steps when a man and a woman walk along hap- 
pily together. Their road lies on the level, or after a 
time very gently down hill." 

"There's some sense in your head, as well as a great 
deal of nonsense," said the landlady. "Well, to be candid 
with you, I have half a mind sometimes to take John. 
He is as sober as he need be, and though he has a 
taste for the flurry of a petticoat above what is becom- 
ing in a man of his years I would undertake to break 
Jiim of that." 


"He consoles himself with the maids, not daring to 
look as high as the mistress." 

"You think that is it?" said the landlady doubtfully. 

"Why, of course it is," answered Pippin. "Give him a 
sign of encouragement and you will soon have him at 
your feet." 

"Well, to speak the truth, I have given him several, 
in one way or another. Yes, I would take him, if he 
could make up his mind to ask me. But he doesn't seem 
able to." 

"Then you must ask him," said Pippin decidedly, and 
with that they left it, very good friends with one another. 

Pippin went out to see the town when he had eaten 
his supper. The twilight was now falling, and a saffron 
light lay over the roofs and chimneys. But the streets 
were still full of the townsfolk taking the air after the 
labours of the day. There were sober citizens with their 
wives and sometimes with their children, there were boys 
and girls, playing the old game which makes of the 
meanest place a paradise for youth and hope. 

This place was not at all of the meanest. The street, 
towards the lower end of which lay Pippin's inn, was broad 
and clean. There were shops in it that looked as if their 
owners were thriving, and every now and then an old 
house, not yet dispossessed by the new order of things, 
which showed that the prosperity of the town was of 
some standing. At the summit of the low hill on which 
it was built was a broad market-place with the bigger 
shops around it, on one side of the square the town 
hall, an old stone building with a high roof, and on an- 
other the church, where these good people gathered wdl 


Sundays, as many as had a mind to lay aside the cares of 
the week, and some few besides. 

Watching the people pass to and fro, and greet one 
another continually, as if they were one very large fam- 
ily, of which there was not a member who had no friends 
amongst the rest, it came into Pippin's mind that life 
in a town such as this might be very agreeable. Its in- 
habitants were not cut off from the pleasures of the coun- 
try, which lay all about them, and they had in addition 
the society of their fellows, the lack of which makes those 
who dislike solitude dread the life of the open country 
in spite of its attractions. 

"If I had been brought up in a town," he said to him- 
self, "I wonder if I should have been more contented." 
He was not yet wise enough to know that the most 
philosophical of mortals are not free from the contradic- 
tion of valuing above its worth the situation in which 
they do not find themselves, even although they may de- 
liberately have rejected it. 

He would have liked to talk with one of the prosper- 
ous tradesmen of the place and hear all about his cir- 
cumstances ; but all the big shops were shut, and even if 
they had not been it was probable that the most pros- 
perous of those who owned them would not have found 
time to satisfy his curiosity, since prosperity comes from 
action and not from talking about it. 

He did find one small shop open in a side street, and 
a pale youngish woman behind the counter with a child 
clinging to her skirts. She was tidying her meagre stock 
for the night — it consisted of children's toys, articles 
of stationery, a few books, and a thousand and one use- 
less flimsy articles which it is a wonder that any one takes 


the trouble to make, or that having been made they should 
find a purchaser. Her eyes brightened when Pippin 
came in, and he was sorry that his purchases only came to 
a few pence; so he bought a shilling toy and gave it to 
the little child, and all three of them were pleased. 

The woman told him that it was a hard task to wring 
a livelihood out of her shop, when all her expenses were 
met. She had been brought up to better things. Her 
husband had been a schoolmaster, and they were very 
happy together. He had saved money and set up a 
school of his own. They were just beginning to make 
money when he died, and she had embarked what little 
remained to her when his affairs were settled in this busi- 
ness. But she was inexperienced. She had paid ready 
money for all her stock, but much of it was unsaleable, 
and out of what every one could sell there were small 
profits to be made. If she could begin entirely afresh she 
thought she might do well, for she knew now what people 
wanted, and there were many who would give her custom 
for the sake* of her husband, who had been much respected 
in the place. But she had no capital for a fresh start, 
and knew of no one who would lend her any. 

And there was another trouble. The big shop round 
the corner, owned by a man whose name she mentioned, 
was extending to different branches of business. She 
had heard that a stationery department would soon be 
opened, and she feared that that would take away the 
small remnant of trade that remained to her. "It is 
the big crushing out the little," she said. "It goes on all 
over the world. But I think he might have left my line 
of business alone. I believe he expects to make very little 
out of it. He came in here the other day and asked \xNfc. 


many questions about the value of my stock and cried 
it down when I told him. He said that what I had got 
would be nobody's loss, and there was nothing in the 
business even if it were carried on properly. But it means 
my livelihood, and its loss my ruin." 

Pippin went back to his inn rather saddened. He 
wished he could have helped this poor woman, who tried 
so hard to make a living for herself and her child. He 
thought it quite likely that with another start she might 
do so, for she was well-spoken and seemed to have energy ; 
and the poor stock which she did possess was displayed 
with ingenious care to conceal its deficiencies. He also 
felt indignant against the man who was going to take from 
her the little she had, and came to sneer at it before 
doing so. 

He found half a dozen men sitting in the parlour 
where he had eaten his supper, their glasses on the table 
in front of them. They were all well-to-do in appearance 
and none were young. He would have drawn back, but 
one of them, a stout middle-aged man wearing a heavy 
gold watch-chain and a diamond ring, and smoking a 
cigar where the rest were content with clay pipes, called 
out to him. 

"Come in, sir, come in," he said, "and take a glass 
with us. Hi, Mary!" he called out. "Here's another 
order for you. Come, bustle up. What is it to be, sir, 
ale or spirits? — wine, if you like, for trade's good and 
I've got my share of it." 

"Wine for him?" said the landlady, who had answered 
to the call. "He doesn't want wine. He's a nice lad, and 
my good ale just suits his complexion." 

So a tankard was brought for Pippin, and he sat 


down with the rest. Having made him welcome, they 
troubled about him no more, but went back to their con- 
versation, which had to do with trade and the making of 

The dispute, if dispute it could be called that wag 
nothing more than the airing of different views, which 
salts the intercourse of good friends, seemed to hinge 
upon the question as to when a man had enough. 

"I say," said a small, shrunken man, with grey hair 
and rather untidy clothes, "that when a man has enough 
io live in the house in which he was born, in the way 
in which he was brought up, he ought to leave his work 
and make way for younger folk. I've no fancy for what 
is called bettering yourself. I like old friends and old 
ways. Getting rich means getting trouble." 

"Ah, that's all very well for you," said Pippin's host, 
who seemed, by his superior prosperity to be acknowledged 
as the leader and informal chairman of the gathering. 
"That's all very well for you. You're a man with a 
hobby. Give you a book of good print and you won't 
need a book ruled for cash. And besides, you're a warm 
man, and have an old-established business that runs itself, 
if I may say so. Your heart is not in it." 

The old man puffed in silence under this charge, while 
another man with rather a discontented look said: "If 
you sold books instead of corn you wouldn't want to leave 
your business till it left you. The great thing is to deal 
in what you take an interest in ; and I wish I did." 

"There's not a particle of sense in that," said a stout, 
jolly-looking man with smooth black hair; and added, — 
"in a manner of speaking," to take the edge off his words. 
"You trade to make money. I don't take more interest 


in .beef and mutton than I do in any other good victuals, 
but I make my living out of them and cut them up with 
a cheerful heart. When I have made enough, why I'll go 
on and make more. It is a warming thing to make more 
money than you want to spend." 

"That's it," said the man with the cigar. "But you 
must take a pride in your business too. And if you do 
so well with it that you raise yourself a step higher in the 
world, why so much the better." 

This last saying did not meet with universal approval. 
The old book-loving cornfactor grunted dissent, and the 
discontented-looking man, who was an undertaker, with- 
out that satisfaction in the circumstances of woe which 
upholds a man who plies the most mournful of all trades, 
said, "Give me a clean trade and the company of my 
equals and I'll leave that of my betters alone." 

There was a murmur of applause, and a thin, sandy- 
haired man said: "That's sense, that is. My business, 
as you all know, takes me to the houses of the gentry, 
and I often think to myself as I'm seeing them out of 
an old house or into a new one, or laying a carpet, or 
suchlike: 'You don't live better than me, though you 
spend more money, perhaps more than you've got, which 
don't make for peace of mind. Furthermore,' I say to 
them — if they're not by — 'you live here alone in your 
glory, and you see such of your neighbours as are good 
enough for you, if you ask them or they ask you. But 
whenever I want to see a friend, I step in round the cor- 
ner and do it, or he steps in and sees me. My friends 
are all about me, and this very night I shall drink a 
glass and enjoy a talk with men I've grown up with; 
and they know and like me, and I know and like them.' 



At this generous compliment the murmured applause 
was renewed, and a quiet man who had not yet spoken, 
said: "Trade is the best calling in the world, and no man 
ought to want to get above it." 

The man with the cigar looked from one to the other 
as they spoke, with a good-humoured tolerance. "Come 
now, neighbours," he said, "is this aimed at the little 
box I've built myself outside the town — where nobody 
is made more welcome than you, — and my little bit of 
land, or is it only general?" 

Addressed in this way, all of them disclaimed any 
particular application in their words. "But you talked 
about going up a step in the world," said the cornfactor. 

"Well," said the other, "that goes with successful trade, 
and always has. And it's more for your children than 
yourself. What I may have in mind for them is one 
thing, and what I practise myself is another. I work 
hard at my business and enjoy it, and when I've put up 
my shutters, I enjoy myself with my family or else with 
my neighbours. I don't want to step above them and 
never shall. And nobody can say I don't take my share 
in the affairs of the town." 

"You do well by yourself and by the town, and your 
neighbours are proud of you," said the upholsterer, and 
addressed him by the name which the woman in the little 
shop has given to Pippin as that of the man who was 
about to ruin her. Pippin had already suspected that it 
was his, and had viewed with distaste the man's com- 
plaisance. He now broke into the conversation and all 
eyes were turned on him. 

"I suppose successful trade in a place like this means 
crowding out the unsuccessful," he said boldly. 


"Well, in a manner of speaking, it does," replied the 
butcher. "But there's room for all, and live and let 
live is a good motto." 

"It is a very good motto," said Pippin ; "for those who 
keep it. I have just come from talking with a poor wo- 
man who would like to see it carried out. She has a 
little shop of her own and is just about to see her trade 
taken away by a bigger one." He fixed his eyes boldly 
on the man with a cigar, who coloured a little and looked 
away, but immediately afterwards faced him again and 
took up the challenge. 

"Come now, young sir," he said, "you have been hear- 
ing a tale of my new venture, I take it." 

"Yes, I have," said Pippin. "And though I thank 
you for your hospitality I would not have accepted it if 
I had known who you were." 

"Well, we'll leave that alone for a moment. You can 
speak your mind just the same. You think I ought to 
leave a branch of business alone that I can do well, be- 
cause I shall cut across somebody else who is doing it 

"She would do it very well if she had some money 
to make a new start with." 

"That's as may be. But she hasn't got the money, 
and I have. What have you got to say to that?" 

"That I think you might spare her a little of it." 

The man with a cigar laughed cheerfully. "Oh, that 
is how you would conduct a business, is it?" he said. 
"Well, my young friend, I don't think you would conduct 
it long. I don't know what my neighbours think." 

"Business isn't charity," said the undertaker, and the 
rest agreed with him. 


"That's very plain to see," said Pippin, nettled at 
their indifference. "I suppose I am in the company of 
the most considerable tradespeople in this town, and there 
isn't one who has a thought of pity for a poor woman 
who is going to have her means of livelihood taken away 
from her." 

"You mustn't speak like that,'* said the old cornfactor 
gravely. "The good woman you talk of is well known 
to all of us and we are sorry for her troubles." 

"Oh, sorry !" said Pippin, scornfully. "That won't boil 
her pot." 

There were signs of irritation at that saying. "Why 
don't you lend her the money for a new start, young 
gentleman?" asked the upholsterer. "It's a cheap way 
of showing pity to ask other people to dip their hands 
in their pockets." 

"Because I haven't got any money," replied Pippin, 
"as you probably know. If I had I would lend it her, 
for I believe she would do very well with it." 

"Trade won't thrive on borrowed money," said the 
undertaker, and again there were murmurs of assent. 

"Well, you all know more about trade than I do," said 
Pippin, rising to his feet, "and you are welcome to your 
knowledge. But there is one thing I should like to say 
to you, sir," he added turning to the man with the cigar. 
"It may suit you to take this poor woman's living away 
from her, and as it is all in the way of business, I sup- 
pose you are quite satisfied with yourself. But I think 
you did a cruel thing when you went to gloat over her 
misfortunes, and sneer at her efforts to support herself." 
"There, that's enough, young gentleman," said the man 
with the cigar, with a change of tone. "You're young 


and headstrong and can only see one thing at a time. 
You are quite right to feel pity for a good woman who 
has seen misfortune, but you are quite wrong to think 
that her neighbours, who know her much better than 
you do, don't feel the same pity, and more." 

"I judge by what I have heard and you have not 
denied," said Pippin. 

"I am about to deny it now," proceeded the other. 
"None of my friends here know what is in my mind about 
my new extension. I don't talk of a thing more than I 
can help till I've done it. But they know I'll do what 
is right as far as I can by everybody. They know that 
my new department will want a capable head, and I dare- 
say they guess who that head is to be, with a salary that 
will keep her and her child in comfort without a bit of 
anxiety or more forethought than is necessary to go on 
day by day. I don't say that I should never lend a per- 
son money to start a business, if I thought they could 
make good use of it — and I shouldn't talk about it if I 
did — but it wouldn't be my ordinary way of doing busi- 
ness. I would rather help them by helping myself, if I 
saw any way to it ; and that is what I am going to do in 
this case." 

"Yes, and if you said that you were starting a shop 
of that sort to find a job for somebody else, nobody 
would contradict you," said the upholsterer. 

"I shouldn't say that, if it were true," said the man 
with the cigar, "and it wouldn't be true here. I shall do 
very well out of it." 

Pippin had sunk from the height of indignation to 
the depth of shame, during the progress of this enlighten- 
ment, and could only hang his head and stammer out 


words of apology for having so misunderstood what was 
after all very little of his business. 

"Don't you think anything more about it," said the 
man with the cigar. "You're generous and hot-blooded, 
as I like to see a young man. There's no harm done.'* 

Soon afterwards the little party broke up, and Pippin 
went up to his attic bedroom, where he found the pedlar 
already ensconced and sleeping sweetly. 



There is no telling how late Pippin would have slept the 
next morning had he not been suddenly awakened, at 
about five o'clock, by a loud noise in the room. He sat 
up in his bed startled, and saw the pedlar, standing in 
shirt and trousers by a large wooden box in the middle 
of the room, and looking towards him with a face of 
the deepest concern. 

He was a little man with a mild expression. His thin 
grey hair was tumbled about his head, and with his 
bright eyes and rather aquiline nose he looked like a 
gentle but rather frightened cockatoo. 

"Oh, dear, that's bad," he said, as Pippin stared at 
him. "I wouldn't have done it for the world. Such a 
sweet sleep as you were in, too! I meant to get out of 
the room as quiet as a mouse. But I caught the lid of the 
box as I was tiptoeing by and it fell with a crash. Now 
do lie down again, sir, and go to sleep and I won't make 
another sound." 

"Well," said Pippin, "as you have wakened me — and 
I bear no malice for it — I think I will get up, and set out 
on my journey. The early morning hours are the pleas- 
antest, and it is a shame to spend them in sleep." And 
with that he sprang out of bed, a vigorous, active youth, 
seizing the gift of another bright day. 

"Now, that is very pleasant hearing," said the pedlar, 

gratefully. "It is what I feel myself and the rule I go 



by ; and to find another who thinks as you do — why that 
delights a man. And may I be so bold as to ask where 
your journey takes you?" 

"Anywhere in the wide world," said Pippin, splashing 
cold water over his face and shoulders and his close- 
cropped head. "With you, if you care for my com- 
pany, and are going to meet the sun." 

"That is my intention," said the pedlar, "and I shall 
be very glad if you will walk with me. But I must warn 
you that I do not cover many miles in a day, laden 
as I am; and I do not keep to the high-road, where 
trade flows from the shops, but visit the out-of-the-way 
farms and cottages, where they are always pleased to see 



Then for one day I will be your companion," said Pip- 
pin now drying himself vigorously with a rough towel. 
"After that I must get on, towards the big town." 

They crept downstairs through the silent house. In 
the kitchen a yawning servant maid was laying a fire, 
sad to be awakened so early out of her sweet sleep and 
finding no pleasure in her work as yet; though with the 
bustle of the day, and people coming and going, she 
would presently wake up and take her share in making 
the world move. The stout landlady was not yet to be 
seen, but Pippin had paid his reckoning the night before 
and taken adieu of her. As they went out through the 
stable yard, the crook-legged ostler, John, was carrying 
pails of water. "What, running away so early?" he ex- 
claimed, chuckling sardonically. . "Ay, and well you may ! 
She'll catch you else, not a doubt of it, and put you in a 

"The cage is prepared for somebody else," said Pippin, 


"and a very handsome well-lined cage it is, with the door 
open for one knowing old bird to walk in whenever he has 
a mind to." 

"Ay, and find it clapped to on him when he gets there," 
returned John. "That bird will take his seed and his 
sugar and his bit of chickweed outside, thanking you 
all the same for the warning." And he retired with his 
mouth on the grin into the stable. 

"Ah, you have found out how the land lies," said the 
pedlar as they went out under the archway into the street. 
"That's a match for certain, sooner or later, and I expect 
to hear it has come off every time I pass this way. She's 
set her heart on him, and I wish her joy of her bar- 
gain. He's a wicked old rascal for a man of his age, 
though a good worker. But a woman alone is a flower 
unblown, and this one won't be content till she gets 
her mate." 

The town was only just beginning to rouse itself as 
Pippin and the pedlar walked through its streets on their 
way to the open country. Smoke was rising from a few 
of the chimneys; servant maids were kneeling at some of 
the doorsteps; down the middle of the street went one 
here and there whose business called him out early; but 
for the most part the streets were empty and the win- 
dows of the houses still close-shuttered, while behind them 
lay those who would presently rouse themselves to carry 
on the work of the little town and see that it did not fall 
behind the rest of the world by a single day. 

"It seems to me," said the pedlar, as they walked be- 
tween the silent houses, "that, when a man has such a 
few short years of sunshine given to him, he is wise not 
to waste an hour of it." And Pippin agreed with him, 


though the years of sunshine that stretched before him 
seemed endless. 

"We will walk along the high-road for about five miles 
to the next village if agreeable to you," said the pedlar, 
"and there we will have breakfast. Then I take a side 
road to the hill-farms and villages." 

So they walked together, Pippin adapting his pace to 
that of the older and well-laden man. The pedlar carried 
his pack slung by a strap on to his back and showed a 
sturdy stride for one of his years and rather diminutive 
size. He was a pleasant-spoken little man, agreeably 
ready to suit himself to his company, but with enough 
self-reliance to make him not tiresomely complaisant. 
"If you are out to see the country ," he said, "it is a good 
thing you fell in with me. I know every inch of it, and 
the places I shall take you to-day are well worth seeing 
at this time of year, though they lie away from the high- 

"I walked with a man yesterday," said Pippin, "who 
told me that those who live the life of the road never 
take a bypath. They miss the company, and I sup- 
pose the beauties of nature do not make up for it." 

"They do to some," said the pedlar. "To me, for 
instance. I love the fields and the woods, and the hills, 
which seem to speak of something that does not pass 
away. And as for company, you will get very good com- 
pany in the places I shall take you to, a good deal better 
than that of the road, which is used by a great many 
very idle rascals. The people who live a little apart 
from their fellows have more of the sense of home, and 
to my mind there is nothing so comforting as the sight 
of a pleasant home, with a man working to keep it about 


him, a woman helping him in her different way, and a 
family of children to tie them both to it. And when it 
is rooted to the kind soil, with trees and flowers and 
fruit about it, so that the bounties of the earth wrap 
it round as well as the love that keeps it together, then 
I say that that is the kind of home that God meant a 
man to enjoy." 

"That is the kind of home that I come from," said 
Pippin. "But it is a good thing to leave it sometimes. 
You will like it all the better when you return to it." 

"You are more fortunate than I," said the pedlar, 
rather sadly. "I had such a home of my own once, a 
humble one, but I loved it. I had a young wife too and 
a little child — it was many years ago. But they both 
died, and since that time I have taken to this wander- 
ing life, in which I miss them less. I see more of other 
homes than I should if I were to stay in one place. I 
have friends all over the country, and wherever I go 
other people's children give me a welcome. I love them 
very much, the little creatures that seem to know when 
a man wants them." 

"Do you keep to one part of the country ?" asked 

"I go to the same places year after year," replied the 
pedlar, "but some of them lie very far apart. I cover 
my ground twice a year, and I walk about twelve miles a, 
day, sometimes more, sometimes less, summer and winter, 
except on Sundays, when I lie up and rest, generally in 
some quiet place, with one or another of my friends. So 
you see I am not without the happiness of home life, 
though I sleep in one bed never more than twice in a year. 
I say, when I am in a cheerful mood, that I have a hun- 


dred and fifty homes; but I need not tell you that I 
would give them all for one of my own." 

"And the people you meet on the road," said Pippin, 
— "are they all strangers or do you get to know them 

"I get to know some of them very well. There is a man 
I saw in the town last night. I have met him here and 
there constantly for the thirty years that I have been 
carrying my pack. They call him the Gentleman Tramp." 

"Why, that is the man I walked with yesterday," ex- 
claimed Pippin. "It was he who grumbled at my taking 
a bypath." 

The pedlar eyed him a little askance. "You are not 
making your companions on your journey of such as he?" 
he asked. 

"Oh, as to that," said Pippin. "I am ready to make 
my companions of any one I meet. You can learn some- 
thing from most men, and I learnt a good deal from him. 
I spent most of the day with him, but, not liking some 
of his habits, I got rid of him at the end of it." 

"Ah, well," said the pedlar, doubtfully. "I think you 
should be careful of whom you travel with. You will not 
take it amiss that I offer you this advice. I am very 
much older than you, and I have seen a great deal of 
those who make what they call a living out of the road. 
That is a very different thing to plying an honest trade 
as I do, and calling on the road to help you. There is 
a deal of rascality among those gentry, and the man 
they call the Gentleman Tramp is as big a rascal as any, 
though he trades on his superior manners." 

"Do those who know him believe that he was really 
born a gentleman?" asked Pippin, with some curiosity. 


"Oh, no," said the pedlar. "We are a pretty shrewd 
folk, take us all in all — I class myself with the rest, for 
I know as much about these things as any. There are 
plenty of men who were born gentlemen among us, not 
following my calling, or any so honest, for if they could 
do that they could do something better, but among the 
true vagabonds, who live from hand to mouth, who will 
do no work at all if they can eat and drink without it. 
They differ greatly; most are bad, but some worse than 
others. But one thing they have in common; they are 
all anxious to get rid of the last remains of their gentility. 
It is far too painful a matter for them to remember 
what they have fallen from. They will tell you their 
stories sometimes, but what they will not do is to flaunt 
their former state in the eyes of the world. Now this 
man does nothing else. He lives easier than most of them 
by doing it. He has picked up the trick somewhere, and 
finds it pays him." 

"Well," said Pippin, "he told me his story yesterday, 
and it was such a story, and told in such a way, as he 
could not have invented. I believe him to be a gentleman 
by birth, but I quite agree with you that his ways are 

"You surprise me," said the pedlar, "but no doubt you 
know the signs better than I. And I will tell you this: 
he has told his story to nobody else on the road. I have 
always thought it was because he had not got one. But 
there is something about you, young sir, that is likely 
to draw confidences from people. You listen, and one 
thinks you feel kindly of one." 

"I hope I do," said Pippin. "I have left my home and 
am walking through the country to see as many men as 


I can and to listen to their stories, if they will tell them 
to me. That Gentleman Tramp told me yesterday a 
little about his life at a University, which I suppose is 
a place where rich men finish their education. This is 
my way of finishing mine. I will make the road my 

"Ah, the road !" said the pedlar. "A man gets to love 
the road as if it were something human. There it lies, 
patient and ready for use night or day. A man may take 
or leave it as he pleases, go either way, quick or slow, on 
his feet or drawn by horses. It runs between village and 
village, town and town, as it ran before we who use it 
were born, and will run after we are dead. I make up a 
good many stories about the road as I walk, and some- 
times I tell them to the children as I rest in the middle 
of the day. You may learn a lot from the road, and it 
tells most to a man who treads it with his feet. You will 
go home wiser than when you left, young sir, and I do 
not ^think you would learn more at a University, especially 
if it is such a one as turned the Gentleman Tramp out 
on the world." 

The broad high-road on which they were now walking 
had woke up since they left the little town. They passed 
slow-moving carts, drawn by strong horses, their heads 
gravely nodding at each deliberate heavy step. The men 
who had piled their loads walked beside them, or added 
themselves to the freight. What the good earth had 
yielded they and the stout horses were carrying from 
place to place for the benefit of mankind, and the road 
was one of the veins or arteries by which their merchan- 
dise was spread abroad for sustenance. 

Nearer the villages there was more frequent work for 


the road. Blue butcher boys exulted in naked speed, 
sleepy-eyed bakers jogged along with the crisp loaves 
they had risen betimes to knead and bake, grocers swung 
themselves up and down from their high springs, and 
lingered, basket on arm, for a moment's affability, low 
milk-carts clattered over the granite. The great daily 
work of distribution, was in hand, aided by the road, and 
the willing creatures that man has seized upon and tamed 
to that end. 

Pippin and the pedlar breakfasted at an inn in a vil- 
lage that ran for half a mile on either side of the road. 
In the middle of it a narrower lane ran off towards the 
hills, and this they took when their meal was done. 

It ran for some distance on the level, through water- 
meadows in which cows were grazing, and the flowers and 
weeds were already beginning to grow tall on the margin, 
of a lazy river. 

Presently the road began to rise. The river was now 
narrower and was sometimes lost to sight amongst trees, 
though they could hear it singing to itself in its more 
stony bed. The woods drew together and were very 
beautiful. The beeches showed a haze of green under the 
blue sky, the oaks were browner, as if they had refused 
to listen to the call of spring for as long as possible, the 
ashes were budding timorously, but the stout hollies 
laughed at them all, standing up in the glistening mailed 
coats in which they had defied the frosts of the winter, 
and the yews wrapped themselves in their sombre cloaks, 
which the spring was freshening up for them. "They 
last us a thousand years," they seemed to say, "and are 
better than the flimsy leafage which fades and is cast 
away every autumn." 


The pedlar led the way through a gate into a wood, 
and he and Pippin walked along a broad grass ride and 
presently came to a clearing, where with a little garden 
and a little orchard and a little meadow, stood a cottage. 
They went round to the back, past a barn upon the door 
of which were nailed a various assortment of birds and 
beasts of prey, such as work havoc with the fledglings that 
it was the duty of those who lived in this cottage to bring 
up, that their master and his friends might shoot them 
when the time came. The coops were all round the pad- 
dock. Broody hens were confined in them and clucked 
warnings to the baby pheasants, which ran in and out, 
and accepted these dull-plumaged heavy birds as their 
rightful protectors without question. 

A busy woman came to the door of the house when the 
pedlar knocked, her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, and 
her arms and hands white with soap-suds. She gave the 
pedlar a very warm welcome. "But lor* !" she said, "when 
I tell the children that you've been here while they were 
at school, there'll be such a to do as never was." 

"Never you fear, mistress," said the pedlar. "I shall 
see the children, with all the rest. I shall be at the 
school-house at twelve o'clock, and I've got a new story 
for them which I'll be bound they will like." 

"That's good hearing," said the woman, "but come 
you in, and the young gentleman too, and take a bit of 

But the pedlar refused this invitation. "It would be 
nothing but eating and drinking and no trade done, if 
all you kind people had your way," he said. "You know 
my rule, mistress." 

"As for trade," said the woman. "You've no cause to 


grumble about that. Let me go in and wipe the soap off 
and get out my old teapot. It has been hoarding up for 

So the pedlar undid his pack and displayed its con- 
tents of buttons and threads, and ribbons, and women's 
knick-knacks, and when he and the keeper's wife had put 
their heads together and he had wrapped it up again, it 
was a little lighter than it had been and the leather bag 
which he took out of his pocket the heavier. 

"Now the next time," said the good woman as she bid 
them farewell, "it is to be a Sunday visit, and I'll take no 

"You see," said the pedlar to Pippin, with pleasurable 
pride, as they set out again through the wood, "I have 
my friends. There are very few of the people we shall 
see this morning that will not give me a warm invitation 
to their homes." 

And so it was, although some of the cottages at which 
they called were humble enough. Everybody was glad 
to see the pedlar, most of them offered him food and 
drink, and the hospitality of their roof when he should be 
pleased to accept it. His pack grew a little lighter at each 
stopping-place, and he told Pippin that he had to replen- 
ish it every two days at least. Many of his customers 
had gone without things that they needed so that they 
might buy them of him when he passed that way. He 
aroused so much goodwill that the most various people 
were touched by it, and if a woman here and there re- 
fused to trade with him it was never done with dis- 

They visited cottages by the roadside, cottages in the 
woods, in the fields. They were welcomed in farmhouse 


kitchens, and once or twice at the back doors of gentle- 
men's houses. It was a busy morning, but a very pleas- 
ant one, and Pippin presently became almost as proud 
of the popularity of his companion, as was the pedlar 
himself, in his innocent way. 

At noon they came to a high-lying scattered hamlet at 
the lower end of which was a school-house. It stood 
among pine trees on a little rise and seemed a pleasant 
place for children to be taught in. A hum of voices 
came through the open windows, as the pedlar led the 
way up the steep sandy path to a fallen log a little dis- 
tance from the building. 

"We will sit down here," he said, "and you shall see 
whether the children's welcome is behind that of their 
mothers when they come out of school and catch sight 
of me." 

They took their seat on the tree trunk, with the sweet 
odour of the sun-warmed pines all about them, and pres- 
ently the hum in the school-house rose to a subdued roar, 
the door flew open and the first of the released scholars 
shot out as if propelled by a catapult. 

The stream of flying, whooping children set towards 
the road, and it was not until several of them had run 
down the path that one turned and saw who it was sitting 
under the pines. Then there was a shout, and the stream 
changed its course completely, till it had gathered into 
a sort of confused pool, with the pedlar and Pippin on 
their log in the middle of it. 

"A story! a story!" cried the children, and the pedlar 
said : "Very well, I will tell you a story, but you must all 
sit down on the ground, and those of you who have brought 
your dinners in your bags can eat them, and after I 


have finished there will be something else for you to eat, 
if you listen carefully." 

So all the children, with some expressions of pleasure 
and some pushing and nudging, sat down on the warm 
carpet of pine needles and one or two little ones nestled 
up by the side of the pedlar and Pippin. Some older 
girls too, pupil-teachers, came out of the schoolhouse 
and stood by the trees, and the pedlar welcomed them, 
for he had known them all as little children. But it was 
understood that the regular teachers were not to be 
present at these story-tellings, and to them as they came 
out of the door and went down the path he only waved a 

"Now what sort of story shall it be?" asked the pedlar 
when all were seated, and the girls asked for fairies, and 
the boys for giants and pirates. 

"I will tell you a new kind of story this time," he said, 
"which I have made up as I walked along the road going 
from one place to another." And he told them the story 
of the Road and the Field. 



There was once a field, on the outskirts of a large farm. 
Once a year it was ploughed, once a year it was sown, 
and once a year it was reaped ; and for the rest of the time 
it was left to the sun and the rain and the frost, which 
between them helped it to do the work entrusted to it. 

Sometimes the farmer rode up to see what was going 
on, not because he could not trust the field to do its 
appointed work if left to itself, but for his own satisfac- 
tion, and perhaps a little because he pitied its solitude. 
For it was bounded on three sides by a wood, and at the 
upper end by a heath, and there was no road or path 
anywhere near it by which men went to and fro. But the 
farmer came very seldom, and no one else at all, except 
now and then in the spring some children to the wood. 

One year the crop was reaped as usual, and borne away 
in carts, but with great trouble, for much rain had fallen, 
and the ground was heavy; the cart wheels sank into it, 
and the labouring horses had much ado to pull them out, 
sinking in themselves to the fetlocks. 

The time came for the yearly ploughing, but no plough 

came. The winter passed, and the farmer had not once 

been up to look at the field. "This is unaccountable," it 

said. "He must have forgotten me. But if he does not 

come soon it will be too late to get me ready for the 

sowing. My weeds are sprouting fast, and there is the 

moor, which has to be taught its place every year, threat- 



ening to over-run me. It has already jumped the ditch, 
and I am really getting very uneasy." 

The time for sowing came and went by, and the field 
received no attention. All the plants that it had hitherto 
kept at arm's length seized upon it. The heather pushed 
into it from the upper end, the gorse took hold, in a damp 
corner a colony of weeds established itself, nettles and 
thistles appeared, apparently from nowhere, and behaved 
most insolently, as if all that had hitherto been done 
for the field had been done for their especial benefit; 
and there was soon enough grass to encourage the rabbits 
to come out of the wood and feed on it; indeed, one en- 
terprising doe even took steps to establish a stop. 

"I am ashamed to look the sun in the face," said the 
field. "I am forsaken by men, and shall soon be a field 
no longer." 

One day in the spring, when it had given up all hope 
of being able to do anything to preserve its self-respect 
as a field for that year, some men came out of the wood 
and walked along its lower end. A little time after, more 
men came, carrying chains and curious-looking instru- 

"When I was worth looking at," said the field, "nobody 
came from one week's end to the other. Now that I am 
not fit to be seen, all the world comes." 

It tried to say politely to the men, "I am quite ashamed 
that you should see me looking like this." But a field 
can only speak to men through its growing crops, and of 
course the thistles and nettles were not going to carry 
a message like that. They were quite satisfied with them- 
selves, and were doing their best to prevent the field speak- 
ing at all. 


"I do not remember having ever seen agricultural im- 
plements of that sort," it said to itself, alluding to the 
instruments with which the men were busy; "but I am 
glad that something is to be done at last." 

But the men went away in the evening, and did not 
come back again, and the moor said grimly, "I shall get 
you after all." 

The next thing that happened was that still another 
lot of men came to cut down trees in the wood on either 
side of the field. The axe rang all day long, and there 
was more talk and more company than the field had ever 
known, except at harvest time. But it could take no 
pleasure in it because of its unhappy and degraded 

One day, as the trees were falling, the farmer rode out 
of the wood and sat on his cob, looking over the broad 
slope of the field. "That's a nice mess," he said. "I 
shouldn't have let it begin to go back if I had known 
what was going to happen. But I shall plough it deep 
when the time comes, and give it a good dressing. It will 
be better than ever next year." 

Then he turned and rode off again. The field was 
jubilant, and all the weeds and usurping plants to which 
it had given unwilling harborage trembled on their stalks. 

The field, relieved that something was going to be 
done to it at last, could now look at what was going on 
around it with some interest. "It is the woods' harvest," 
it said, as the trees fell, one after the other, "and it 
has been a long time coming. But why do they not reap 
it all?" For the trees were only being felled in a broad 
band on either side. 

When the trees were cut down, and trimmed where they 



lay, the woodmen brought carts, and with great labour 
carried away first the trunks and the bigger branches, 
then the grubbed up roots, and then the neatly bound 
stacks of bark and brush-wood. The heavy carts passed 
to and fro over the lower end of the field between the 
clearings, and their wheels made deep ruts, and often 
stuck fast. The woodmen swore heartily at the yielding 
ground, and the field was indignant. "I was made to bear 
crops, and not carts," it said. "I ought not to be used 
in this way." 

When the woodmen had gone the navvies came, with 
spades and picks and barrows. They dug out the earth 
from one of the woodland clearings, and piled it in a 
bank on either side. The field watched this operation with 
interest. "Now they will go over and do the same to the 
other clearing," it said, when they had reached its own 
border; but they came right on, and removed the top 
spits of its own good earth. 

"I suppose they know what they are doing," said the 
field ; "but I shall never be able to grow anything on my 

By the time the first gang of navvies had carried their 
wide trench into the further part of the wood, another 
gang had reached the first part, and were filling the trench 
with cartload after cartload of stones. "Surely," said the 
field, "they can't be going to put them on to me ! Why, 
I couldn't grow a blade." 

But on came the flow of stones, and, a little way behind 
the carts and the shovels, came a great heavy thing on 
monstrous wheels, such as the field had never seen, and 
snorted up and down, pressing and grinding the stones 
together into a hard flat surface, on which even a thistle 


could have gained no lodgment. "Can the farmer possibly 
know of this outrage?" enquired the field. 

The farmer rode up, just as the stones and the engine 
had got across to the further wood. He did not seem 
in the least surprised at what he saw, but gave orders to 
the man who had come with him to have a ditch dug, and 
posts and rails and a gate put up ; and also, to the field's 
great delight, for the ploughing to be done at once; for 
some months had passed since the trees were felled, and 
it was now time again for the earth to be prepared for 
the next season's crops. 

The ploughmen came, and up and down the long fur- 
rows went the horses, making short work of the weeds 
and the gorse and the heather, the nettles, thistles, reeds, 
and grass, which had taken such hold that they must 
have thought themselves established for life. But when 
the ploughs got down near to the stones, they turned and 
went up again. 

"And no wonder!" said the field, to that part of itself 
upon which the stones had been rolled. "I cast you off. 
You are no longer part of me." 

It lay in its new dress of wet ribbed earth, its pride 
restored to it, and very beggarly in comparison looked the 
hard stones, and the weed-grown bank beside them. 

"You can't cast me off," said a mournful voice. "We 
are not divided yet." 

The field quivered with surprise in every clod; for a 
field may be cut into two by a hedge or a fence, or even 
a ditch, and when the division has been made there are 
two separate fields, and each speaks with its own voice. 
But until that has been done you may treat different parts 
of a field in different ways but it is still only one field. 


Now this field knew that well enough, and knew that 
it had no right to disown any part of itself because it 
was ashamed of it, any more than a man can disown his 
own nose because it is not ornamental enough to please 

But if that was so, whence came the separate voice? 

There was silence for a time, and then the field asked 
in a subdued tone: "Who's that speaking?" 

"You know well enough," replied the mournful voice. 
"I am that part of you that has been so badly treated." 

"That is not possible," said the field. "You must be 
something quite different, or you couldn't speak at all. 
I don't understand it." 

"No more do I," replied the voice; "but you can see 
for yourself that there is no division between us yet, so I 
must still be a part of you; and you can't cast me off." 

"I shall be able to, very soon," said the field, "for they 
have staked out the ditch and the line of the fence already. 
Then you can be whatever you like, but you won't be me. 
What you are now I don't know." 

The voice was silent. It did not know either, as yet. 

The ditch was dug and a post and rail fence of split 
oak was put up, with a stout five-barred gate in the 
corner by the wood. 

"Now I am free of you," said the field, "and perhaps 
you will kindly tell me what you are and why you spoke 
with a voice of your own before you were cut off." 

The voice was mournful no longer. "I am the road," 
it said proudly. "I was a road even before the fence was 
put up, although I did not know it. You may keep your 
brown ribbed dress. I am proud now of my hard white 


"Which you will wear all the year through," said the 
field sharply. "In the spring I shall change mine for a 
green one, and in the autumn I shall wear one of ruddy 

This was true, and the road kept silence, for it was 
too young yet to know its own value. 

"Fancy priding yourself upon being made of nothing 
but hard stones!" the field went on, pleased with the ad- 
vantage it had gained. "Not a single thing will you grow, 
and you know well enough, however you may choose to 
disguise it, that the best use the earth can be put to is 
to grow beautiful and serviceable things." 

This was also true, and the road had lost that power, 
and did not know yet what it had gained instead. It 
maintained a meek silence, so that the field grew a little 
ashamed of crowing over what had, after all, once been 
part of itself, and turned its attention to the business 
in hand, which was to get properly weathered in prepara- 
tion for the spring sowing. 

One day the farmer came riding along the new road 
with his little daughter. He got off his cob and leant over 
the gate, for he was an understanding man and knew 
that a field-gate cannot feel itself part of its surroundings 
until a man has leant on it. 

"What a beautiful clean field, father !" said the little 
girl ; and the field thrilled with pride. 

"It was dirty enough a month ago," said the farmer. 
"And it would be dirtier still now if the new road hadn't 
come just alongside of it. 'Tis a good bit of land, but 
it was more trouble than it was worth — so far away from 
everything — and I was for letting it go back to the moor. 
,The road has saved it." 


It was now the road's turn to feel proud, but also a 
little puzzled; for it had not yet come to the knowledge 
of what great purposes it was to serve. 

The farmer and his little daughter trotted off, and 
there was silence for a time. Then the road said: "You 
heard that, I suppose. The moor was to have been let 
in on you ; but I saved you." 

"I don't want to hear any more of such nonsense," said 
the field. "All I know is that nothing will grow on you, 
and if I were you I should hold my tongue." 

The road made no reply. It still had enough of the 
nature of the field out of which it had been made to feel 
rather ashamed that nothing would grow on it. "I will 
see what comes of it all," it said to itself ; "and then the 
field and I will talk again." 

The silence held for many months, during which the 
field hugged the pride of its growing crop, and the road 
learned its usefulness. 

Then, one summer morning, when the green ears of 
corn with which the field was filled from bound to bound 
were just beginning to turn yellow, the pride of the field 
broke out and it sang a paean of rejoicing. This song 
of the fruitful earth is so loud that even men's deaf ears 
sometimes hear it. Long ago it was written: "The val- 
leys stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing." 

Now if the field had contented itself with rejoicing in 
its fertility there would have been nothing to answer. 
But, led away, possibly, by the intractable spirit it had 
inherited from its mother the moor, when it had finished 
its song it went on to jeer at the road's barrenness. 

"From each of the seeds sown in me," it said, "springs 
a straight supple lance, and at the head of each is a 


heavy ear of rich ripening corn; the finest fruit the earth 
can bear. You will never grow another blade of corn as 
long as you live." 

But the road had been waiting for this for months, 
and now replied at once, in a ringing confident voice, very 
different from that with which it had last addressed the 

"Though I shall never grow another blade of corn," 
it said, "my barrenness is as useful as your fertility. 
Without me nothing could be spread abroad that you 
grow for the service of man; without me you could not 
grow anything at all." 

"I don't know what you mean by that," said the field. 
"For years before you came I grew crops, though not 
so good as this one. You know that well enough, for you 
were part of me." 

"You were allowed to grow them," said the road, "but 
it was with the greatest difficulty that they were carried 
away. So much so that if it had not been for my coming 
you would have grown no more. You would now have 
been in a worse state than you were last year, and next 
year you would have been swallowed up by the moor." 

The field knew that this was true, and its myriad ears 
of corn trembled. 

"You say," went on the road, "that you have never 
grown so good a crop as this. Why?" 

"That is easily answered," said the field. "Because 
of the good dressing I received." 

"And who brought up the dressing? I did. You had 
none for years, because it was too much labour to get it 
here. And who brought up the ploughs? I did, before 
I knew what I had been made for. And the seed. And 


when the harvest comes I shall bring the reapers and their 
carts; and I shall carry away the sheaves. It is quite 
true that I have saved you, and I alone." 

"I admit," said the field, after a pause, "that you have 
been most serviceable to me. I suppose I was so valua- 
ble that the farmer had you constructed for that pur- 

"The farmer had nothing whatever to do with it," said 
the road. "It was worth while to cultivate you again, 
after he had decided to let you go, because I happened to 
be coming this way. But I haven't told you half that I 
do yet. 

"When I have taken your corn to the farm to be 
threshed, I take it to the miller to be ground into flour; 
and the flour I take to the baker to be made into bread ; 
and the bread I take to the homes of those whom it 
nourishes. All the fruits of the earth I and my brothers 
carry here and there where alone they are of value ; and 
everything else besides which men need in life. For there 
is no jealousy in the brotherhood of roads, and all of us, 
old and new, work together. And men themselves we 
take all over the world, on their business and their pleas- 
ure. You have seen that for yourself. None ever came 
here before, but now many people pass you every day. 

"The end of the matter is this, that without movement 
human life cannot subsist; and in aiding movement the 
road is doing a great work of which it has a right to be 

"But not so great a work as growing corn," said the 
field, who was unwilling to be convinced. 

The road made no further answer. It was market day 
and it had a great deal of work before it. 



So passed the first two days of Pippin's adventure, and 
at the end of them his old life seemed very far behind him. 

On the third morning he arose very early, as he had 
made up his mind that he always would do as long as 
he was on the road, so as to miss nothing of the glory 
and freshness of each new day. Once more he had shared 
a room with the pedlar, with whom he had been enter- 
tained at the house of a rich farmer for the night. They 
had supped in a great kitchen, had sat by the fire after- 
wards, told stories and sung songs, and talked of the 
pleasures of life and its hardships; and it was to be re- 
marked that the farmer, who had grown fat upon the 
raising and selling of the necessaries of life, had dwelt 
chiefly on the hardships, and the pedlar, who had very 
few of the world's goods, chiefly on the pleasures. 

This good man was sleeping peacefully, and Pippin 
dressed very quietly so as not to awaken him. His thin 
grey hair was on the pillow, his old face was calm and 
patient as he breathed softly like a little child, and Pip- 
pin, glancing at him every now and then, understood a 
little of the peace of mind that might come to a man 
who had gone through sorrow, and had won much because 
he had asked little of life. 

But it was only a very little that he understood, after 

all; for in his eager youth he looked upon all the good 

things of the world as if they were held in a deep chest 




into which he might dive without ever reaching the bot- 
tom ; and although he thought it an admirable thing that 
an elderly man who had fetched out few prizes should 
make the best of his poor fortune, he took it for granted 
that his own drawing would yield much richer results. 

The air was keen and damp as he let himself out of 
the still sleeping house, and made his way along the farm 
lane, across fields, through gates, and between hedges 
until he came out upon the road again, and went forward. 
Something of the excitement with which he had stepped 
into a new world two mornings before had worn off, and 
for that day at least, walking through the rain, which 
presently set in for a steady downpour, he did not re- 
capture it. 

The rain damped his spirit of adventure and threw him 
back upon his thoughts, which, as he tramped the wet road 
for mile after mile, were more reflective than eager. "I 
am no better off at the moment," he said to himself, "than 
if I were at home. But I suppose any life you take up has 
its dull moments, and you must put up with them, and look 
forward to the bright ones." 

But do what he would to whip up his flagging spirits 
he could not encourage himself to any enjoyment of that 
wet plodding day, and only towards evening, when the 
rain ceased and the sun shone out from below the clouds, 
did he console himself with the thought that he had many 
hours steady journeying behind him, and that there was 
something in having done what you set out to do, whether 
you enjoyed the doing of it or not. 

He spent the night in a country inn, eating his supper 
in bed, because his clothes were wet through and had to 
be dried, and falling asleep directly he had done so. 


That day, in looking back afterwards on his journey, 
stood to him for the first in which he had really done any- 
thing, although he had scarcely spoken to a soul, and 
had walked through a flat and uninteresting country. 
And the reason for that those who are older and wiser 
than he was will readily understand. Man's heritage is 
work, which brings its own reward, and a more lasting one 
when it is pursued under difficulties. 

The next day was fine and he went on again, and so 
for some days further, during which he made many dif- 
ferent kinds of acquaintances and saw many different 
kinds of places. Of the people he met and talked with on 
the road, the professional tramps were the most common, 
and he grew to be rather tired of their company. At first 
he talked to all who were going the same way as himself, 
for he had heard a story that had interested him from 
one of their fraternity, and looked to hear many more. 

But he did not again meet a man who had fallen from 
rich estate to the life of the road, although he met two 
who claimed to have done so — very palpable liars. And 
their stories were all much the same. They were shiftless, 
idle vagabonds, men and women alike, shirkers, dishonest, 
greedy, and difficult to shake off by a man who had a good 
suit of clothes on his back, and some money in his pockets. 
When he had learnt that he could get little from them, 
although they expected to get a good deal from him, he 
passed them by with his strong youthful step, and if they 
shambled along by him, whining and begging, he soon 
shook them off. 

He went a little way with an honest man who was 
really on the lookout for work, and had with him his wife 
and two children, and all his worldly goods on a hand- 


cart. "Fm strong," he said, "and there's nothing against 
me, except her and the little ones," and he jerked his head 
at his thin, poorly-clad wife. "I shall find a place where 
a good pair of hands is wanted, never fear. They wasn't 
wanted where I was brought up, so I up and left." 

"It was a poor part of the country," said the wife, 
"and the labouring people are leaving it." 

"It was machinery, and all," added the man, sturdily 
pushing his cart. "And she got ill. Folk like us mustn't 
get ill, for there's no money to get well with, and we 
mustn't get old, or we can't earn none. But I'm not old 
yet, and we'll settle down somewhere, never fear, and get 
a bit of a home round us again. That's all we want, and 
it don't seem much, do it, mister?" 

"Not for a man who is willing to work for it," said 
Pippin. "It seems very little." 

"Oh, well," said the man suddenly changing his tone, 
"it may seem little enough to you, but it seems a lot to 
the likes of us. But you'll understand I'm not asking for 
pity, nor yet for money, which I'll make for myself if I'm 
allowed to it." 

Here the smaller of the little children, who was riding 
on the top of the things packed with the cart, began to 
cry, and said she was hungry. The man's face changed 
again, and wore a hunted, almost despairing look. He 
stopped wheeling the cart and said with a glance at Pip- 
pin: "When this gentleman has gone on we will stop and 
have our little bit of dinner. It isn't enough to ask him 
to sit down to it with us." 

Pippin was going on after this rebuff, but the woman 
threw herself on the little child and clasped it to her 
breast and cried out, as she rocked it to and fro, "Oh, 


it isn't true. All our money is gone and we haven't got a 
crust of bread to give them. What shall we do? What 
shall we do?'* 

"Stop that noise," shouted the man, and turning to 
Pippin he said roughly : "We didn't ask for your company 
and we don't want it. You get on your way and leave us 

But Pippin stood up to him. "No, I shan't," he said. 
"We will go on to the village, there, and eat our dinner 

"I don't want your charity," said the man. 

"Your children are hungry through no fault of yours," 
said Pippin. "How can I eat my own dinner in comfort 
if you won't share it with me?" 

"Your comfort is nothing to me. I've hard enough 
work in looking after mine and theirs. I won't take your 

"Yes, you will," said Pippin. "Come along now." 
And he took the older child, who had been crying for 
company, on to his back, and soon had him merry again 
as they went forward, the man sulkily pushing his cart 
and the woman comforting her little one. 

They went to an inn which was only a little distance 
further on the road and there they ate a good dinner. 
"It is the first meal we have eaten so far, that I haven't 
earned," said the man when it was ready for them ; but his 
wife, whose pride was broken by her child's tears, said, 
"When we set out from home we knew that God would not 
let us starve. If He chooses to send us our food by this 
kind young man let us take it and be thankful." And by 
the time the meal was over Pippin had her and the chil- 
dren laughing, and her husband was in better heart to 


carry on the struggle for the work which should enable 
him to give them what was necessary. It looked too as 
if he might have his chance without travelling further, 
for the innkeeper's wife was taken by the children, and 
when she had heard their story said that, when her hus- 
band who was away at market returned, he might be able 
to find the man something to do, at any rate for a time ; 
and so Pippin left them there, and the man came out with 
him and thanked him for what he had done and said he had 
not meant anything by his roughness. 

"It churns a man up," he said, "to see his children 
crying for bread, and he doesn't know what he is saying." 

At another time Pippin walked a mile or two with an 
artist, who was old enough to be able to paint very pretty 
pictures df any scene that took his fancy, and young 
enough not to care much whether he sold them or not. 
"It is the life I like," he said. "I come out every spring 
and go about the country whenever I please till the winter 
sets in again. I can make enough to keep me going, and 
that is all I care for." 

Pippin was rather glad to meet somebody who took the 
same view of life as himself. He had talked mostly with 
older men, those in the places where he had eaten or slept 
showing themselves averse to the pleasures of a life of 
movement, clinging to the idea of a home and a settled 
place of habitation, and willing to barter even their free- 
dom for the sake of it ; and those whom he had met on the 
road quite ready to retire from it if any one could provide 
them with the means of doing so. 

"I think you are quite right," he said. "I am walk- 
ing for my pleasure too, and I wonder that more people 
don't do the same." 


"They don't do the same," said the young artist airily, 
"because they are fools, and you and I are not. They 
get caught, before they have seen anything of this jolly 
world, by one of two things, money, or a woman. Both 
are all right if you know how to use them, but if you're 
not precious careful they'll have you by the heels for life 
before you know you are caught." 

"How does money do that ?" asked Pippin. 

"Well, it isn't so much the money, as the buying. If 
you only buy as much as you want for the moment, or can 
carry with you, or don't mind leaving behind, you are 
money's master, and you can make a little of it go a long 
way. But directly you get more than you want for your 
needs, and begin buying things with it, you must stay in 
one place to look after them." 

"Then it is not so much money as possessions." 

"You have caught the idea, my brave boy. Why 
should anybody want to possess things ? If he goes with- 
out them he possess the world. If he clings to them he 
loses it. Why should I want a house and furniture? 
Every inn on the road is my house. I love pictures, and 
every picture in all the world is mine — to look at; and 
what use a picture is except to look at I don't know. 
Books! You can't read more than one at a time, and 
that you can carry in your pocket, and buy another one 
when you have finished with it. In fact it is just like that 
with everything. However many things a man wants he 
only wants one of them at a time, and you can get the use 
of everything by paying a little money for it, and a good 
many excellent things without paying anything — a light 
heart among them, and that is what no amount of posses- 
sions will bring a man." And here the young artist began 



to troll out a song to show that he was beholden to no- 

"Wait a minute," said Pippin, "you said there were two 
things that robbed a man of his freedom. What about 
the other ?" 

"Eh?" said the artist, stopped in his singing. "Oh, 
a woman ! Woman's a stay-at-home, a sleek-pawed pussy- 
cat. She wants a cushion to make her comfortable, and 
when you have given her a cushion you've got to stick by 
it. Your days of freedom are over. A kiss and a joke, 
that's the way to treat 'em. But don't let them get their 
claws in, my boy." 

"I like what you say about money better than what you 
say about women," said Pippin. "But we needn't quarrel. 
I want neither the one nor the other, any more than you 

"Very well, then. But there is something that you will 
find you do want, and that is some work to do. You can't 
paint, I suppose. What can you do?" 

Pippin laughed. "I can't paint," he said, "but I have 
done a good deal of work — real work. I tell you frankly 
I am rather tired of it. I want to see the world and 
enjoy myself." 

"Ah!" said the artist. "Of course, you are very 

"If it comes to that," said Pippin, "I don't suppose 
I am much younger than you." 

"Perhaps not, but you are much more foolish. How- 
ever, go on and enjoy yourself. I am going to sit down 
here and paint a picture." 

They had been walking along a road which ran through 
a noble forest. The artist had always had his eyes about 



him, even when he was talking, and now had suddenly 
found just the picture he wanted to paint. He unstrap- 
ped his sketching apparatus, whistling all the while, and, 
sitting down with his back to a tree, set to work without 
any delay. 

"I shall be happy here for the next few hours," he 
said to Pippin. "I have enjoyed our talk, but I won't 
keep you from your journey. " 

So Pippin left him, wondering a little exactly what 
he had meant by calling him foolish, and not understand- 
ing very well. "He must be older than he looks," he said 
to himself. "It is the middle aged and elderly men who 
are always talking about their work and pretending to 
enjoy it." 

He met other people on the road and in the places where 
he stayed of nights; jovial blades of bagmen who com- 
bined the advantages of married with those of single life ; 
travelling musicians whose travelling powers were more 
apparent than their musical; men who wanted to give 
him a new religion and others who wanted to take away 
what he already had; quacks and sharpers, and all the 
tribe of inventive folk who made their living out of the 
credulity of others and needed a roving field for their 
operations ; a few who like himself were bound for a point 
and preferred to travel at leisure by means of their own 
legs, or had no money to pay for riding. 

He saw many places too, and many different kinds of 
country. The downland and the fertile valley and the 
wooded hills he had passed through on his first two days' 
journey, and the flat agricultural country on his third* 
Then he had tramped for a day along the coast, crossed 
a brown rolling moor, walked for two days through the 


forest aisles, and after that had kept steadily on through 
towns and villages, past streams and fields and woods, 
up hill and down hill and along the level, coming always 
nearer to the great city which, however, was still many 
days' journey ahead of him. 

He did not walk upon a Sunday, but took the rest en- 
joined of old upon man and beast for one day out of the 
seven; and his Sundays were pleasant days to him, es- 
pecially the second, when a little of the spring of his ad- 
venture had left him and his thoughts homed back to the 
settled life he had left for a time. 

He would not have gone back to it yet. It was very 
much out of the world which he had come forth to see, 
and its monotony had irked him. But as he awoke to a 
day of soft spring sunshine and lay for a while in his bed 
in the luxury of quiescence, instead of rising up at once 
to take the road as on other days, it came to him that 
there had been times when he had been very happy, and 
that his home was still there, unchanged, though he was 
already far from it and it would be many a day before 
he saw it again. 

The work-a-day world would have changed its aspect, 
there as here. The very sounds of the farm would be 
subdued, as if beasts as well as men knew that this was 
a day of rest. The birds would be twittering under the 
eaves outside his window, through which would be coming 
the fresh scents of dawn. By and by the chime of church 
bells would be borne on the wind from across the hill, and 
later in the morning many of those whom he had known 
since his childhood would gather in the church, where 
ancient stone and ancient oak, for centuries welded into a 
living unity, gave forth a drowsy scent, the memory of 


which would move him all his life long. Alison would be 
there, devout and collected, but after church, walking 
home through springing cornfields, she would be bright 
and gay. Or perhaps, because he would not be at her side, 
or following her across the narrow field-paths, she would 
not be very gay. 

Dear Alison! Was it true that he would not see her 
for another year? 



It was a beautiful place, this in which Pippin rested on 
the second Sunday of his journeyings. Some centuries 
before, a great man, saved from some peril of his enemies, 
had built here a noble abbey, thinking to pay his debt 
in that way to the Power that had intervened on his be- 
half, and if history lies not had left it to those who 
worked and prayed here for some centuries more to purge 
his errors for him, while he applied himself to increasing 
the sum of those errors, until he came to this place to die 
in sanctity and make a final end of them. However that 
may have been, the work of the monks had been well done, 
both in making productive the wide lands of their abbey 
and in the still more important matter of tilling the hard 
soil of their hearts. And they had shown hospitality to 
wayfarers, and provided refuge for many who in those un- 
settled times were in trouble, whether from some fault of 
their own or from the persecution of strong and evil men. 
But there had come a time when this and other religious 
houses had been given over to the spoilers, and now there 
was little enough left of all the glories of building that had 
once shone like a jewel in this fair spot; only a little 
chapel in place of the great abbey church, of which there 
was scarcely a stone remaining, a noble barn of stone and 
timber, still put to its original use of husbandry, and a 
cloistered garth, in which flowers and herbs took the place 
of the human activity that had once filled it from dawn to 




One of the abbey buildings abutting on this quiet en- 
closed garden had been adapted to the uses of a modest 
dwelling, in which lived the old clergyman who served the 
handful of parishioners left over from the thriving com- 
munity dispossessed and scattered so long ago. Hard by 
was the entrance to the little church, and after the morn- 
ing service had been said and sung it was the custom of 
some of the congregation to walk for a time in the old 
man's garden, of which he was very proud. Pippin joined 
them, and the old clergyman greeted him cordially, en- 
quired of him whence he had come and whither he was go- 
ing, and presently asked him to share a meal with him. 
Pippin would have preferred to dine at his inn, for al- 
though he had learned courtesy towards those far on in 
life, for which reason he was generally much liked by them, 
it was some effort to adapt himself to a suitable deference, 
and he had a suspicion that this kindly old man, with the 
quick searching eyes which had taken him all in while he 
was asking his questions, was partly moved to his hos- 
pitality by the desire for a new pair of ears, into which 
to pour the speech that came so readily to him. 

And so it proved to be. The old clergyman was a man 
with a hobby, and few chances of riding it in this remote 
spot, where the work of the hands was more considered 
than the work of the brain. During the many years of 
his quiet pastorate, as successor to the men of old who had 
followed the same way as himself, though in different 
fashion, he had searched into books and conferred with 
learned men, so that he might re-create in his mind the life 
that had been lived by his predecessors. He was a very 
mine of lore upon the conventual life of a past age, and 
lost no time in imparting some of it to his guest, who f ol- 


lowed him about among the ruined stones and arches, and 
learned many things about them which interested him, 
though he could not forbear wondering what kind of re- 
freshment would presently come as a reward of his pa- 
tience and the exercise of his brain. 

For his mentor was not satisfied to pour out the in- 
formation of which he was so full to ears merely receptive. 
He must be asking questions. "Now what do you think 
this was?" Pippin, looking doubtfully at the broken re- 
mains of what -seemed to have been a line of stone basins, 
suggested a washing-place, and found that he was right. 
"It was the lavatorium," said the antiquary, commending 
him for his intelligence, "and here you see the conduit 
that brought the water." And he told him much about 
the cleanly habits of the monks in an age long before 
cleanliness was practised by the world at large. In the 
course of his years of study he had formed an idea of the 
virtues of monastic life somewhat in excess of those with 
which it has commonly been credited, and Pippin soon 
came to understand that he lived as much of his life as 
was convenient in conformity with the habits of the past, 
and gained a simple pleasure in so doing. 

The parlour in which their meal was spread was very 
simply furnished with a table of solid and ancient oak and 
two benches to match it, another table for writing, and a 
few chairs without cushions or any upholstery. The floor 
was of stone, and there were no rugs upon it, nor any 
curtains at the latticed windows. The walls were partly 
lined with books, and for the rest were whitewashed. An 
ivory Christ upon a large ebony cross hung above the 
open hearth, and there were some framed prints of sacred 
subjects elsewhere. On the long broad sill beneath the 


window there was a row of pots, in which the sweet-scented 
flowers of early spring were blooming ; and further bright- 
ness was given to the bare but sunny room by a canary in 
a wicker cage, for which the old man apologized, but said 
that the monks, who were very human, would not have 
quarrelled with his liking for the song of this foreign bird. 

The meal was served by an elderly woman with a kind 
and pleasant face, who smiled at Pippin and told him that 
he should not suffer from her master's preference for 
Lenten fare. Presently he had before him a plate laden 
with good things, which was probably part of her own re- 
past, while the old clergyman regaled himself more 
frugally, still talking the while. 

"As you are probably aware," he said presently, "the 
monks ate their meals in silence, except for one who read 
to them out of a book. You have shown yourself so inter- 
ested in all that I have told you about the life of those 
good men that perhaps you would like me to read to you 
one of the little stories that I amuse myself by writing 
about them." 

Pippin said that he would like this, and meant it, for he 
had still much to get through of what had been set before 
him, while his host had already finished eating. The old 
man searched among his papers, and brought one back to 
the table with him. "This is a little story suitable to this 
time of year," he said, and began to read in a deliberate 
and not unmusical voice his story of 

Brother Paul 

At the first stroke of the bell Brother Paul hastened to 
join the group of monks in the cloister. He received his 



spade and mattock, and took his due place in the line. 
"Let us go to our manual labour," said the prior at the 
door, and two by two the monks filed out, their imple- 
ments on their shoulders. 

It was the season of Lent. They went through the 
garden, where among the potherbs a few early flowers 
were showing. They passed the infirmary, where the sick 
were lying in silence, and the fish ponds, from which they 
were now chiefly fed. Up the valley they went, singing 
the Miserere, a procession of white figures on the green 
slope, and came to the vineyard, in which their day's work 
was to be done. 

It was the hour of noon. They had said Matins, 
Lauds, and Prime, and heard Mass in the great church; 
they had attended the daily Chapter ; they had dined off 
fish and lentils. The sun was warm, but there was a keen 
east wind, which nipped toes and fingers, and made it dif- 
ficult to keep on their thick white hoods of cloth. The 
light Lenten fare, and the hours they had spent in the 
unwarmed church and cloister and refectory, made them 
susceptible to the cold. Brother Paul shivered under the 
folds of his cape, though he was young and the blood ran 
lustily in his veins. 

The vines had been planted on a terraced slope facing 
South. A thick wood of oak and beech sheltered it from 
the North and East. The bare poles stood in serried 
ranks, still closely bound with their winter protection 
of bracken. 

The prior said a paternoster and a versicle. The 
monks standing round him replied, and then, girding up 
their tunics to the knee and throwing back their hoods, 
fell each to his task. 


Brother Paul fell to his very heartily. He worked at 
the upper end of the vineyard, where it was most sheltered. 
Very soon his body was in a glow, and his mind lifted. He 
had been told that when he worked in the vineyard he must 
think of the True Vine by which the souls of the faith- 
ful were nourished and kept alive. To his simple peas- 
ant's understanding this meant that the work he was 
doing was for his especial welfare, both in this world and 
the next. He was helping the Vine to grow, and he could 
tell by the pleasure he felt in his task that it must be good 

He felt the same when he went out with the others to 
the tidal rivers on which the abbey was built and netted 
the fish ; when the torches shone on the black water, and 
with much commotion the nets were dragged up on to the 
grass and the red and silver fish drawn from them and 
sorted into baskets. So the Saviour of the World had 
once watched his friends take the fish from their nets. 

It was good to be professed, and to do work like this. 
Outside the abbey walls the world was cruel and quarrel- 
some. Men destroyed one another's bodies instead of sav- 
ing their own souls ; they oppressed the poor instead of 
feeding them. They were steeped in wickedness. 

Brother Paul stood up and straightened his broad back. 
The sun was strong, and there was no wind in this 
sheltered corner. He wiped the sweat from his brow. 
Before him the trees were covered with a veil of brown 
and purple, a holly glistened in the sun, and a thorn 
showed fresh and delicate green. Two blackbirds flirted 
out from the undergrowth and back again, and in the 
wood the thrushes were singing. At its edge the prim- 
roses clustered thickly. 


The voice of spring which speaks clearly just once a 
year to those who live close to nature rang in his ears. 
It had been late in coming this year, stifled by the frosts 
and the bitter winds ; but now there was no doubt about it. 
Winter was over and past; Easter was coming, and the 
flowers, and the long fair days. Brother Paul laughed 
aloud for pleasure. 

Brother Paul laughed in the sunshine, and Brother 
John working near him looked up and scowled, with 
straight thin brows on a lean face, and then went on with 
the work he hated. 

Brother Paul also went on, with the work he loved. He 
did not want to laugh again. A shadow seemed to have 
passed over the sun. He had done a dreadful thing. He 
had forgotten that it was Lent, and he had laughed for 

Easter, suddenly, seemed a long way off. He had many 
sins to mourn and many temptations to fight. He must 
confess this new grave fault — unless Brother John saved 
him the trouble — and undergo penance. If that only 
meant being beaten, kneeling on the floor of the chapter 
house in the presence of the community, he would take his 
punishment gratefully, and not offend again. If it meant 
kneeling for hours in the church, he knew it would go hard 
with him. 

He loved the church, when he had something definite to 
do in it. He loved to sing in the choir and take his part 
in the offices, and it was a joy to him when his turn came 
to serve with incense or lights. But to be left to silence 
and his own thoughts — that was the time when the devil 
pressed him very hard. 

He knew very well what would happen. The devil 


would brush away all the good thoughts he was trying 
hard to think, and would force on his mind guilty pic- 
tures. He would see himself riding out into the morning 
with a troop of gay companions, ready to give and take 
blows and glory in doing so. He would sniff the good 
scent of the birds roasting before the tavern fire, and the 
warm red wine, and hear the laughter and the loose merry 
talk. And, worse than all, the fair face of the reeve's 
daughter under its blue snood would rise up to taunt him, 
a very potent trial indeed ; for the devil could almost make 
him believe that the love of a woman, if purged of gross- 
ness, was a good thing for a man, and even for a monk. 
Oh, there was no end to his wiles ! 

The monks finished their labours and went back to the 
abbey. The evening sun shone brightly and the birds 
sang more loudly than ever; but Brother Paul had lost 
the sense of spring. It was Lent, and he had forgotten 
it and laughed. 

The Lord Abbot sat in his high seat in the chapter- 
room. His feet were cased in boots of thick felt, and 
his clothes were lined with fur; but tremors ran con- 
tinually through his bloodless frame, for he was very old. 

The Martyrology was read, the short office recited, and 
the novices retired. 

Then arose Brother John and denounced Brother Paul 
for breaking silence and disturbing his own pious re- 
flections with a godless laugh. He laid more stress upon 
his own pious reflections than was quite necessary, and 
was stopped by the Superior. 

Brother Paul, downcast and distressed, did not deny the 
fault, and if excuses had been allowed would have had none 


to offer. There seemed to be nothing further to do but 
to pronounce sentence. 

But the Lord Abbot, shivering with cold, looked at him 
keenly for a space and then asked him why he had laughed. 

It was the sun and the birds, stammered Brother Paul ; 
and he was tending the True Vine. 

The Abbot asked the Prior whether Brother Paul's 
work in the vineyard had been well done — and Brother 
John's. The Prior said that Brother Paul had worked 
prodigiously, but Brother John's task had been much 
interfered with by his pious meditations. 

Then the Abbot spoke. He said that Lent was the sea- 
son for mortification, but inasmuch as God made the earth 
to laugh in the spring-time, whether Easter, the season of 
gladness, came late or early, it was pleasing to Him that 
mankind should take pleasure in His bounties, and in the 
work that had been assigned to our father Adam for his 
consolation. Brother Paul must kneel on the floor and 
receive three strokes for breaking the rule of silence and 
for laughing aloud when he ought to have laughed in- 
wardly. And Brother John must receive twelve strokes 
for vainglory, and twelve more because he had neglected 
the work by which he should have been praising God. 

Brother Paul did his penance, and presently went out 
with a glad heart to uncover the vines and let the sun play 
upon their opening buds. 

The reading of this little story inclined Pippin still 
more towards the old clergyman, for it showed him not to 
have forgotten the urgings of youth; and in spite of his 
preoccupations with a bygone rule of life it was plain that 
he valued highest the spirit that lay behind it. Later on, 


when he had taken leave of him, he found that he was 
much beloved by the people whom he served in this place. 
The innkeeper with whom he gossiped told him that he 
was a man of some wealth, and that his purse was always 
open to those of his friends who needed help, though for 
his own needs it was that of a niggard. "He will buy 
books," he said, "and he will spend money on beautifying 
his church; but for anything to do with his own comfort 
the good woman who looks after him has to scheme and 
contrive to extract money from him. I doubt whether 
many of those old monks he is always talking about were 
as good Christians as he is. There was a deal of knavery 
mixed up with their religion, or it would not have been 
got rid of and a better put in its place throughout the 

This speech seemed to show that the old clergyman had 
not succeeded very well in impressing his views upon the 
innkeeper, although he had fastened upon him the convic- 
tion of his own single-minded charity. But it is often so 
with those who would bring others to their way of think- 
ing. Their words are passed by, but their lives are re- 




The sunny spell of spring weather had changed when 
Pippin took the road again early next morning. The 
sky was dull and a keen wind was blowing. He could not 
but confess to himself that he was getting a little tired of 
his expedition. He was seeing the world, it is true, but 
the world seemed much the same in one place as another. 
For a holiday, his present life, seeing new people and new 
places every day, was well enough; but when a man goes 
holidaying he is anchored all the while to his home, and 
Pippin had left his home for a year at least. He did 
not want to go back to it yet awhile, but he had expected 
rather more from his freedom than he had yet gained. 
Youth is greedy of experience, and his experiences, though 
informative, had so far lacked excitement. He wanted to 
be doing something, he did not know what, and his chance 
came when he tumbled headlong into the life of the travel- 
ling circus. 

Pippin first came upon the tracks of the circus when he 
passed through a town from which another main road 
branched off towards the north. It was along this road 
that the company, with its horses and its gilded equipages, 
its cages of lions and tigers, and its mighty elephant, had 
come. Highly coloured pictures of the scenes of curious 
and exciting life which any one who paid the money might 

see for themselves when the circus had set up its tents 



were posted on walls and buildings, and Pippin, who had 
never seen anything of the kind, was moved by them. 

Neither quality nor quantity had been spared in these 
pictures. There was one of a fairy of extreme youth and 
ravishing beauty flying through rings of fire and rings of 
roses held up by respectful grooms in liveries of royal 
scarlet, while a mettled steed with flowing mane and tail 
galloped incontinently forward far beneath her. There 
was another, of a very handsome youthful man in a suit of 
green and gold and red, standing erect in the midst of a 
pyramid of magnificent lions, entirely unmoved by their 
fierce appearance. 

But the pictures which pleased Pippin most were those 
illustrative of Dick Turpin's Famous Ride to York. In 
one of them this famous highwayman was seen at night 
clearing a cart full of vegetables and a turnpike gate in 
one leap of the noble beast he bestrode, while the gate- 
keeper, with a lantern, and the owner of the cart looked 
on stricken with amazement, and a posse of mounted con- 
stables in the background drew together, too craven to 
follow him. In a still more remarkable picture, a com- 
pany of high-born men and ladies attired with splendour, 
sat at dinner. The table was gay with flowers and fruit 
and lights and silver. Two bewigged and beliveried foot- 
men served the company, or would have done so had they 
not been turned aside from their duties by the appearance 
of Dick Turpin, who, for some reason, had found it neces- 
sary to leap the table, company and all. He was depicted 
in the act of doing so, while the startled guests were seen 
looking up at him, emotions of fear and astonishment 
upon each expressive countenance. 

There were other pictures, of animals, performing and 


184. PIPPIN 

otherwise, knights and ladies and fair children, all en- 
gaged in bold and stirring achievements, and as Pippin 
saw no reason to disbelieve the evidence of the pictures, 
he looked forward very much to seeing all these wonders 
for himself when he should catch up the circus, which he 
learnt was a day's march further on this northern road. 

He found them encamped in a field in the outskirts of 
a small town which he reached about seven o'clock in the 
evening, and after choosing his inn and eating a somewhat 
hurried meal he set out to see the show. 

The tent in which it was held was a large one, although 
its interior arrangements did not carry out the impression 
of oriental luxury which the posters had led Pippin to 
expect. He occupied a seat on a narrow board, with the 
grass of the field for a floor, and in front of him was the 
barrier which ran round the ring, spread smoothly with 
tan. The gilded balcony containing a large orchestra in 
resplendent uniforms with which the pictures had familiar- 
ized him was sketchily represented by a boarded box from 
which five men with braided coats presently began to dis- 
course music from loud and brazen instruments. 

But neither Pippin nor the rest of the spectators, of 
whom there were a considerable number, had come to listen 
to music or to grumble about the seats they sat on, and 
when the entrance into the arena was thrown open and the 
ring-master, attended by six grooms in scarlet coats, buck- 
skin breeches and top boots, strode in cracking a long 
whip, there were loud cheers from the assembly, for here 
was something that the posters had not exaggerated, ex- 
cept possibly in the fit and cleanliness of the attendants' 

The ring-master, a tall man with a dark moustache, 


the fit of whose clothes left nothing to be desired, bowed 
graciously to the plaudits of the assembly and cracked 
his long whip. Two grooms ran to the entrance and 
threw open the gates, and there ambled in a white horse 
with long and beautifully combed mane and tail, and on 
his back a sort of staging covered with red and fringed 
with yellow. Encouraged by the ring-master's whip the 
horse cantered gently round the circle, and then with a 
bound entered a youth in a neat suit of fleshings decorated 
with blue velvet, who smiled and made motions of affection 
towards the audience, and then with a sudden access of 
determination ran towards the white horse and leapt on to 
the platform, from which he repeated his greetings while 
he was carried standing round the ring. 

Gathering courage he next essayed to turn a somer- 
sault, but lost his balance as he returned to the horse's 
back and slipped off on to the sawdust, was up again im- 
mediately, ran after the horse, which pursued its course 
unaffected by what was happening, leapt on to the stag- 
ing, and performed his intention this time without a slip. 
Three times he did this thing, and then sat negligently on 
the horse's back, graciously acknowledging the applause 
of the spectators, until the entrance of a clown, announced 
on the programme as "Little Joey," withdrew attention 
from him for the time being. 

Everybody laughed at the clown, he was so innocent and 
foolish. The ring-master treated him with lofty courtesy, 
and seemed himself to be amused by his sallies, although 
some of them were at his own expense and transgressed 
the usual bounds of politeness. Even when he flicked 
him with his whip and made him roll on the ground in 
vociferous agony it was done without passion, and in the 


painful scene that followed, when the clown borrowing his 
whip on some pretext drove him protesting round the 
ring, his anger was of short duration, and he was his 
stately self once more, white gloves and all, when closing 
the episode, he signed to the grooms once more to put 
the white horse in motion. 

The youth, whose name was Signor Franginelli, after a 
few turns of the ring nerved himself to his crowning 
achievement. The band broke off suddenly in the middle 
of a bar, there was a hush of expectation, broken only by 
the padding of the white horse's hoofs, and Signor Fran- 
ginelli, gathering all his forces together, turned a double 
somersault on the moving platform where before he had 
only turned single ones. 

The band broke out again louder than ever, the audi- 
ence clapped, the grooms clapped, even the ring-master 
clapped, and the clown, throwing himself down on his 
back, clapped with his feet in unmerited derision. The 
gates were thrown open and the white horse ambled out 
of the arena, leaving Signor Franginelli, modest and 
flushed, motioning gratitude to the audience until such 
time as he was released, and bounded out of the ring with 
the air of a man who has done more than could have been 
expected of him. 

The performance, opened so auspiciously, accumulated 
interest as it went along. Little Joey, the clown, was 
here there and everywhere, getting in everybody's way, 
imitating with ill success everybody's feats, and respect- 
ing nobody's feelings. There was a family of acrobats. 
The father somewhat stout but indomitably active, the 
mother a little past her work but spared from too great a 
strain, the two sons and three daughters, ranging from 



about eighteen years of age to seven, models of lissom 
grace. These did wonderful things on a horizonal bar, 
and on each other's shoulders and heads. There was a 
performing elephant, whose intellect, less cumbrous than 
its body, was shown by the way it emptied a bottle said to 
contain wine down its own throat, and carried out other 
feats of a like nature. The ring-master explained to the 
audience that the rule of its training had been kindness. 
No one had used brutality to the elephant, and no one 
should ever do so as long as he — the ring-master, not the 
elephant — lived. 

The Fairy Firefly in her Unrivalled Equestrain Feat 
performed much the same antics on the back of a piebald 
horse as Signor Franginelli had done on a white one* 
She was a rather meagre and elderly fairy, and her flight 
through rings of fire was not so thrilling as the posters 
had led Pippin to expect. The grooms, standing on the 
parapet, lit tissue paper stretched upon wire hoops and 
when it had flared up and subsided she hopped through 
them one by one, a hoop of smouldering paper and a hoop 
of paper roses alternately. 

But, if she was something of a disappointment, the 
Countess di Rimini on her coal black steed, which danced 
in time to music, the music meeting him as it were half 
way, and really did jump five barred gates without having 
them let down for him, made up for the disappointment. 

Here was a beautiful and mettlesome woman on a fine 
horse, and Pippin's heart beat faster as he watched her. 
She was quite young. She had dark eyes fringed by long 
lashes, a straight little nose with delicately cut nostrils, 
a rather full red mouth, and a firm jutting chin to which 
her soft cheeks curved exquisitely. Her hair under her 


high silk hat was dark and glossy. Her figure was slim 
and supple, and her neat green habit fitted it to perfec- 
tion. There was nothing of the circus about her appear- 
ance or the trappings of her horse, and Pippin wondered 
how a woman of noble blood, so magnificently dowered by 
nature, and still youthful, should have come down to earn- 
ing her bread by circus tricks. He thrilled with admira- 
tion of her and the high-bred courage with which she put 
her splendid mount through his paces. The coloured 
posters which had done so much more than justice to the 
charms of the middle-aged homely Fairy Firefly, had 
failed lamentably in conveying the charm of this adorable 
Countess di Rimini. He watched her with all his eyes 
and applauded so vociferously as she rode her horse out 
of the ring that she noticed him and gave him a little bow 
and smile, which covered him with confusion, but caused 
him a delightful sensation of fluttering about the heart. 

He came down to earth again as a cage of lions was 
drawn into the ring by four horses, accompanied by Herr 
Otto Schwenck, the lion-tamer, whose appearance struck 
him with instant aversion. He was a big man with a 
brutal truculent face, and the five undersized beasts 
cowering in the great cage, and following him with their 
melancholy puzzled eyes, looked as if they had greater 
reason to be afraid of his behaviour than he of theirs. 

Standing in front of the cage, his big body looking 
as if it would burst the tight absurd clothes in which it 
was clad, he made a speech in a deep guttural accent in 
which he recounted the intrepid manner in which he had 
captured these same lions in the African desert. "So;" 
he ended, "I garry my life in my honds when I enter inside 
dot gage. Dey are not like de lions you see oders blay 


wid. Dot big one is a man-eater. Bot he will not eat me. 
So ; you will see." 

He opened the door of the cage and slipped quickly 
inside. The lions withdrew from him as far as they could, 
and the reputed man-eater seemed as anxious to efface 
himself as any of them. But with a tap of his leaded 
whip on the nose of one and the side of another, and with 
menacing, snapped out words he soon had them opening 
their horrid jaws and growling at him, while they slunk 
round and round him in a quick furtive trot, faster and 
faster as he urged them on with voice and never ceasing 
whip. He seemed to be able to do anything with them, 
and their anger, as they were forced to belie their wild 
natures, and cringe and contort themselves at his bidding, 
was unmistakeable. He seemed to goad them to show it, 
and cowed as they were it was difficult to look on at what 
was passing without a feeling of apprehension. The man 
certainly seemed to have courage, and, when he stood up- 
right in the middle of the cage with the five beasts posed 
about him, the reputed man-eater yawning prodigiously 
above his head, something of his gross brutality seemed to 
drop from him, and something of the empire of humanity 
over the wild creatures of the earth to be typified. 

When this exhibition was over, and the lions had slunk 
away from him, snarling, the grooms brought him a table 
and two chairs with food and wine, all of which he carried 
into the cage, and then invited any member of the audience 
to eat and drink with him, promising them immunity from 
danger. "Here is a very good bif shteg bie," he said, "and 
a bottle of wine. You will be able all your lives to say 
you have eaten and drunken in a den of lions. So ? Who 
will come forward?" 


Now there had been sitting by Pippin's side during the 
performance a youth clad in a smock frock and leather 
gaiters, who hardly looked like a countryman, but as if 
he had been dressed up to resemble one. He had a great 
lolling head and an expression of innocent stupidity. He 
had applauded vociferously everything that had taken 
place, but when Pippin had said something to him about 
the performance — it was during the turn of the Countess 
di Rimini — he had looked at him in a frightened foolish 
sort of way and answered in words which sounded like 
"Bogle, google." Pippin had set him down as what vil- 
lagers call a natural, and had not pursued the conver- 
sation. But when the time had approached for the per- 
formance of the lions he had turned his attention to him 
again, for he was noisily applauding no longer, but sat 
muttering to himself, and was evidently in some distress. 

"What's the matter?" asked Pippin. 

The poor creature turned on him a face of tearful 
terror, and babbled some meaningless sounds, which again 
seemed to be "Bogle, google," and when the lions' cage 
was drawn in by the four horses his body shivered; and 
as the performance proceeded he sat as if chained to his 
seat by fright, moaning every now and then his senseless 

"The lions won't hurt you,' r said Pippin, "and they 
will soon take them away." But his terror did not seem 
to decrease. 

What then was Pippin's surprise when this afflicted and 
terrified creature rose in his seat at the lion-tamer's 
invitation, and prepared to go into the ring. He was 
blubbering with emotion, and his poor ugly face was pain- 
fully contorted. Pippin laid a hand on him to hold him 


back, but the lion-tamer caught sight of him at that mom- 
ent, and said with a raised voice : "So ! dere's a bright look- 
ing lad who wants a good tuck-oud. Gome along, plough- 
boy, you'd make a fine fat meal for de lions, bot dey shan't 
douch you, and you shall have de meal inshtead." 

There was a laugh at this, but the audience was rather 
puzzled. The moon-faced youth in his countryman's garb 
was unknown to any of them, and his distress was evident. 
Yet there he was, preparing to undergo the ordeal that 
none of them would have undergone; and he would have 
climbed over the barrier by this time had not Pippin got 
hold of his frock. 

"Don't go," he said. "They will find somebody else." 
He thought he was under some sort of fascination and 
that a tragedy might result if he was not held back. 

"Now gome on, plough boy," said the tamer, more 
impatiently. "Don't keeb the ladies and chentlemen waid- 
ing. You are nod frighdened? No. Id is only thad 
you are hongry thad you make soch faces. De lions are 
hongry too. Hear dem roar. Bod dey will not harm you, 
wid me here." 

"Google, bogle," said the unfortunate creature, turning 
to Pippin, and trying to draw his smock out of his hand. 

"Now gome, whad are you waiting for?" said the tamer 
in a voice of sharp command. "Oh, your friend is keeb- 
ing you ! A pair of fools inshtead of one fool ! Perhabs 
your friend will gome den. You cry, bot you are brave ; 
he does nod gry but he does nod dare to gome, all de 


Pippin pushed the blubbering youth back on to his seat 
$nd stood up. "Yes, I will come," he said, and he stepped 
over the barrier into the ring. The audience cheered 




lustily, but the showman scowled murderously at the poor 
fool who remained behind. It was only for an instant, 
and then he fixed his eyes upon Pippin, who stood in front 
of him, with an expression not much pleasanter, and Pip- 
pin understood what had been passing, and hated him. 

"Ah, so!" he said. "You are hongry, what? You 
want de good bifshteg and de good wine more dan your 
friend. And you shall fill your shtomag. Bot you must 
nod ged dronk, you know. Your master does not objeck 
to a silly looking fool, dot is plain, but he vill not have a 
dronken fool. Now den, gome into my liddle barlour, and 
tug into de viddles." 

This airy badinage amused the audience somewhat, and 
Pippin, who was not minded to play the butt for this 
man's humour, as it was evident that the simpleton had 
been trained to do, gathered up his wits, now he was in for 
it, and thought he would see whether he could get them on 
to his side. 

He followed the tamer into the cage, not without a 
tremor, as the lions, appearing to resent his intrusion, 
growled and snarled. But his nerves were in good order, 
he knew that if there were any considerable danger he 
would not have been allowed to enter, and he put the lions 
as far as he could out of his mind as he sat down to the 

Herr Schwenck seized an enormous napkin and tied it 
round his neck, talking all the time, and banging his head 
with no light hand first on one side and then on the other, 
at which the audience laughed consumedly. Pippin would 
willingly have murJored him, but he knew that he must 
keep his temper. 

"Here, I say !" he said in a loud cheerful voice, guard- 


ing his head, "Is that the way you treat people who come 
to dine with you in your country? We ought to have 
taught you better by this time." 

The people laughed, and somebody cried out: "Go it, 
young 'un !" and the German, perhaps to hide his chagrin, 
took a turn of the lions, tapping and cowing them, during 
which Pippin, with a wink at the audience, took the bottle 
of wine off the table and put it under his chair. This 
action went home, and the tamer's fat face, as he turned 
round in unconcealed surprise, brought forth a roar of 
laughter, at his expense. 

"Ah, you are a f onny man," he said, as he saw what had 
happened. "Bot you most not be too f onny, for de lions 
do not like it. Now let us have dot bottle on de table and 
drink fair, plough boy." 

"All right, old beer-barrel," said Pippin, putting the 
bottle on the table, "but you don't look as if you could be 
trusted with a bottle, you know." 

The audience, tickled by the not very subtle wit of 
the nickname, were now with him to a man. "One for 
you, beer-barrel !" they called out ; and "Go it, youngster, 
stick up to him." 

The man's face went purple. "What was dat you 
called me?" he said in a low voice as he took his seat at 
the table. 

"What did I call you?" repeated Pippin in a loud one. 
"I called you old beer-barrel. You called me plough 
boy, y° u know." 

The tamer recovered his temper with an effort. "Ah, 
you are a very f onny man, dot is plain," he said with fero- 
cious geniality. "Now let us begin. First we will drink," 
and he poured out half a tumbler of red fluid from the 



bottle into Pippin's glass. "And you like soda water wid 
it. So?" He took a syphon, and squirted the soda 
water from his side of the table at Pippin's glass so that 
it went all over him. It was done so quickly that Pippin 
started back, and the audience roared with delight. Then 
he seized the glass to throw its contents into the man's 
face; but missed it, for with an agility hardly to be ex- 
pected he had sprung up instantly and, with harsh com- 
mands and taps of his leaded whip, was cowing the lions 
at the back pf the cage, who had broken out into menacing 

Pippin's heart stood still for a moment, for this note 
was very different from any he had yet heard from them. 
The tamer came back to the table and standing with his 
back to the audience pretended to wipe up the liquor he 
had split. "If you play de fool wid me, de lions will break 
out and kill us both," he said in a low voice, and his red 
face was a shade paler. 

Pippin looked at him steadily. "Then don't play the 
fool with me," he said. 

But now the ring-master came before the cage and said, 
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure we all admire the pluck 
of this young man in venturing into that den of ferocious 
beasts. I tell you candidly, I wouldn't do it myself. But 
he will no doubt eat his supper more comfortably outside 
it, and if Herr Schwenck will kindly release him I shall be 
honoured if he will eat it with me after the performance." 
Hearty cheers from the audience. The tamer opened 
the door of the cage and remembered his role so far as 
to hold out his hand in farewell, as Pippin, ignoring it, 
slipped out. The cage was drawn off by the four horses, 
Herr Schwenck bowing and smiling horribly from the ring 


and pursued out of it by groans and cries of "old beer- 
barrel !" Pippin, shaking hands with the ring-master, re- 
tired to his seat, the hero of the occasion, but found that 
the poor simpleton whom he had relieved of his cruel duty 
had left it. 

And so ended the first part of the performance. 



The famous ride of Dick Turpin to York is a favourite 
subject for representation in a circus, and this perform- 
ance was an excellent one, although it is doubtful whether 
the original highwayman went through all the feats and 
hairbreadth escapes here assigned to him. 

Pippin thought he had never seen anything so enliven- 
ing. The man who took the part of Turpin was a fine 
rider, although he seemed to be suffering from a terrible 
cough, and a weakness which caused him to reel in his 
saddle after he had gone through any unusual motion. 
Pippin wondered if he were really ill, or whether this was 
part of the play, but there was so much else to enjoy that 
he did not concern himself deeply over the matter. Black 
Bess, the hero's horse, evoked his enthusiastic admiration. 
She was a splendid blood mare, in the pink of condition, 
and seemed to enjoy her part in the show, and to under- 
stand completely that her master must never be caught by 
his enemies. 

Excitement followed excitement. In the scene in which 
the stage-coach, drawn by four bright bays, was held up 
by Turpin, Pippin recognised among the terrified pas- 
sengers the beautiful face and form of the Countess di 
Rimini, and had an impulse to go to her rescue. In the 
episode of the leaping of the toll gate and the vegetable 
cart, which Black Bess took separately, although she did 

take them, gallantly, the part of the humorous coster- 



monger was filled by little Joey. And in the famous scene 
of the Sheriff's dinner party, several pld acquaintances 

The Countess di Rimini was resplendent in pink silk and 
diamonds and would have graced any table, even a higher 
and wider one than this. The Fairy Firefly in black 
velvet and pearls was completely outshone, by her and 
looked melancholy. Little Joey was there, and his be- 
haviour, although laughable, would not have been per- 
mitted at most dinner tables. Signor Franginelli was 
there, as a young man of fashion, with a flaxen wig and 
an eyeglass. And among the guests was the poor sim- 
pleton, dressed up as a schoolboy, now apparently com- 
pletely happy, and devoting all his attention to the viands, 
which were served in a manner not consistent with the 
usages of high society. The beefsteak pie, a real one, 
which had already appeared in the lion's den, did duty 
again, and was carved on the table by little Joey, who 
piled huge slices on the schoolboy's plate. He devoured 
them hastily, and, holding out his plate, said "More; 
more !" More was given him, and he devoured that, until 
he had finished the pie, and nobody else apparently had 
any, although they toyed with plates and glasses, and ad- 
dressed each other in agreeable conversation. 

The intrusion on this scene of revelry of Dick Turpin 
and Black Bess, with the Sheriff's Officers after them, 
was not explained by anything in the dialogue, but way 
was made for them, and they duly cleared the hospitable 
board, while above the noise and confusion that then arose 
Pippin thought he heard the schoolboy, now stuffed to 
repletion, crowing "Bogle, google," in tones of exultation. 

The performance seemed to end somewhat abruptly. 


Turpin and Black Bess staggered into the streets of York, 
represented by two shop fronts and a lamp post, Turpin 
tumbled out of the saddle and the mare lay down on the 
ground. Then Turpin crawled to her and began a speech 
indicative of his affection for the noble animal that had 
brought him through his dangers and given her life in his 
service. But the speech tailed off into silence. The man 
and the horse lay together quite still; and when the 
Sheriff and his officers clattered in, there seemed to be 
some hitch in the performance. But the Sheriff, none 
other than the ring-master, leapt from his saddle and 
cried, "Now, we have got the miscreant. He is overcome 
with grief. Varlets, bring hither a stretcher and bear 
him hence to the county jail." 

A stretcher was brought, and Turpin, still motionless, 
was carried out. His face was very white. The streets 
of York were filled with the populace of York, a round 
dozen of them, who seemed to have little to say when the 
sheriff announced that the chase, and the play, was over. 

Pippin waited for a few minutes in his place as the 
audience filed out of the big tent, and one of the grooms, 
now in shirt sleeves, came up to him and led him to an 
adjoining tent from which the animals and the perform- 
ers had entered the ring. Here the ring-master, who was 
also the owner of the circus, was waiting, and shook hands 
with him again. 

"Come along," he said. "I'm peckish, and I daresay 
you are too ;" and he led the way through the confusion 
of men putting things straight after the performance to 
where several caravans were -standing together in a roped 
off enclosure of the field. 

"That was an unfortunate business of poor Brown's — 


Turpin, you know," he said. "I think I got out of it well, 
though, don't you?" 

"Yes," said Pippin, not quite understanding. 

"He would go on," said the ring-master, "although it 
was plain he wasn't fit for it. However, this is the end. 
I'm sorry for the poor fellow, but it won't do to have the 
show spoilt by his fainting in the middle of it; and per- 
haps an accident." 

"Is he seriously ill then?" asked Pippin. 

"Consumption," said the ring-master. "He's a plucky 
fellow, but he's done for now. Well, I've done my best 
for him. Here we are. Come in, sir, come in." 

Soon eight or nine elaborately decorated caravans stood 
in two rows, the ring-master's, larger and more elaborate 
than the rest, a little apart from them in the middle, like 
a general's tent. Pippin went up the steps and found 
himself in what appeared to be a good-sized room. 

It was the most curious and the most attractive room 
he had ever seen. There was a good Turkey carpet on 
the floor. The little windows were curtained with muslin, 
the settees covered with a bright flowered chintz. A 
moveable table stood between them at the further end 
spread for supper, a good deal better spread than the 
Sheriff's dinner table in the play. There was a vase of 
daffodils in the middle of it, and a silver candlestick at 
each corner. There was a bookcase full of books, a 
little cottage piano, a cushioned wicker easy-chair, and a 
tiny fireplace with a fire in it. There were numerous lock- 
ers and drawers round the sides, and above them in every 
available space little glass cases of stuffed birds. Every- 
thing was scrupulously clean, and there was an air about 
it all that seemed to show that the ring-master used 


this as his permanent home, and wanted no better one. 

"Well, what do you think of it?" asked his host, as 
Pippin gazed round him in wonder and admiration. 
"Didn't expect to see a house on wheels as good as this, 

"No," said Pippin. "You have made yourself com- 
fortable enough." 

"That's my aim," said the ring-master cheerfully. "I 
have lived in this old cart for over twenty years, and 
when I once get inside I put the circus and everything 
to do with it out of my mind, and live like a gentleman. 
Ah, you're looking at the birds. All my own work. Took 
the nests and eggs, caught or shot the birds and set every 
one of them up." 

Pippin looked at him in astonishment. Each little glass 
case contained a male and female bird with nest and eggs, 
cleverly disposed in surroundings as natural as possible. 
Some of them were extraordinarily life-like, and all the 
birds were set up in a way that could hardly have been 
bettered. Persistent pursuit, knowledge, and observation, 
and great manipulative skill, had gone to the making of 
the collection, and it was somewhat surprising to find it 
as the hobby of a circus proprietor. 

The proprietor, and naturalist, stood there, still in his 
eighteenth century riding-dress of green velvet and gold 
lace, beaming with affability. He was a man of about 
fifty, big and active. His face was intelligent and not 
unkindly, though self-satisfaction showed in it as much as 
any quality. 

"When we are on the road," he said. "I go off on my 
own account. We travel slowly and I get away into all 
kind<s of country and catch up the old caravan in the 


evening. But the worst of it is, I've got no room to put 
up any more specimens. That's the only drawback to 
these quarters. Now you have a look round — if you 
know anything about birds — and I will just get out of 
these togs." 

A man came in at this moment with a hot dish and a 
bootjack, and Pippin examined the cases while his host 
changed his costume for a comfortable suit of flannels. 
"All pretty natural, eh?" he said, as the servant helped 
him off with his boots and spurs. 

"You didn't find this wheatear's nest perched up on a 
tussock like this, did you?" asked Pippin. 

The ring-master laughed. "Ah, I see you know some- 
thing about it," he said. "You and I ought to get on to- 
gether. William, fetch out a bottle of champagne. 
Here's the key." 

The man went to a locker and produced the wine. 

"But what about the wheatear's nest?" asked Pippin. 

"Well, if you'll tell me how to show one where it's 
built, so as you can see the eggs, I'll thank you. See that 
bit of galvanized iron? I found the nest under that in a 
bank of shingle. I laid it on the tussock just to show it. 
There's the iron and the shingle all natural, just along 1 - 
side. Now let's have our supper." 

There was a savoury stew in a chafing dish. The 
•servant opened the wine and went out, and they were left 
to themselves in the bright little room, with the firelight 
flickering on its shining brass work, on the books and the 
chintzes and the perching birds. It was difficult to believe 
that it was a house on wheels, standing in the middle of 
a field, part of the accessories of a travelling circus. 

Pippin wanted to talk about the circus, the proprietor 


about his country pursuits, and it was birds and eggs 
and bird and egg collecting that they discussed together 
at first. 

"You are a countryman, of course," said the proprietor. 
"You have just the sort of knowledge which a man born 
in a town, as I was, never quite acquires; though I be- 
lieve I am nearer to it than most men who work things 
out for themselves in after life." 

"I have never been in a big town," said Pippin. "I 
have lived in one place all my life, and now I have come out 
to see something of the world." 

"Then come and see something of it with us for a little,** 
said the ring-master. "There is plenty doing wherever 
we go, and you and I could have some pleasant times to- 
gether in the fields, as we move from one town to the 

Pippin was moved to some excitement by this invita- 
tion, which was cordially given. He had lived so retired 
a life that for him there was still a glamour about every- 
thing that had to do with the life of the player, that 
resplendent being who in the glare of the footlights seems 
lifted so much higher than mere mundane mortals, and 
must surely in his refined existence, escape the dull and 
tedious hours that others less favoured have to undergo. 
And the beautiful eyes and exquisite figure of the Countess 
di Rimini rose up before him and warmed his thoughts. 
It would be a sweet privilege to become acquainted 
with that exalted creature, and to worship her respect- 


"I should like to do that very much," he said. "I have 
never seen anything like this circus before. I think it is 


"It is not at all a bad circus," said the ring-master. 
"I have given a great deal of thought to it, though it is 
not an occupation that interests me, as some others might. 
I should have liked to be a doctor, and I do know some- 
thing about medicine, enough, at any rate, to enable me 
to dose my people when they need it, and -save doctor's 
bills. I can set a bone, too, with anybody, and that is a 
useful accomplishment for a circus proprietor, though 
we are very free of accidents on the whole. I was brought 
up to the business, and it pays me very well. I could 
make more money, perhaps, if I settled down to run a show 
in a big town, but I don't want more money, and I like 
travelling about. Oh, it suits me very well. Do you know 
anything about horses?" 

"I have had to do with them all my life," said Pippin. 
"You have some fine ones in your circus." 

"A horse is an animal I never cottoned to much," said 
the ring-master; "and that's a curious thing for a man 
in my trade. I do get some good ones, but the dealers 
would get the better of me if it wasn't for Brown. Brown 
was the son of a rich farmer, and ran away with an 
equestrienne. His father wouldn't have anything more to 
do with him when he married her. He knows a lot about 
horses, and used to be one of the finest riders I have ever 
seen. Poor fellow ! I don't know what on earth I shall do 
without him ; and evidently he has come to the end of his 
tether now. However, I'm not going to bother about 
business to-night." 

"Is his wife in the circus?" asked Pippin. 

"Oh, yes. You saw her. The Fairy Firefly, you know. 
A good little woman, although, of course, rather past the 
fairy business. Still, I've kept her on for the sake of 


Brown. There are plenty of youngsters I can get to take 
her place." 

"How did — er — the Countess di Rimini come to take 
up the business ?" asked Pippin with a blush. 

"The Countess di — ? Oh, she was born to it. She's 
the daughter of old Schwenck, you know, the lion man. 
Good-looking girl, don't you think so?" 

"Yes, very," said Pippin, upon whom the information 
had come like a douche of cold water. "Then isn't she — 
er — married?" 

"No. She's quite young; and the old man keeps her 
pretty close. She could have married people in our line, 
I dare say; but that isn't good enough for him. I say, 
you stood up to him well, in the cage. That was a plucky 
business. It's the first time he has ever had anybody offer 
from outside. Why did you do it?" 

"That poor creature sitting next to me was frightened 
to death," said Pippin. "I didn't know who he was — I 

"What, Bogle! You think he really is frightened, eh?" 

"I should think it's plain enough," said Pippin shortly, 
his ire beginning to rise again as he thought of the cruelty 
of making play with such a victim. 

"I suppose it is," said the ring-master. "I suppose it 
is. Of course, the poor devil is simple; and Schwenck 
brought him in. He couldn't get anybody else to let him 
knock them about as Bogle does. You didn't stand it, 
for instance, and I don't wonder. Schwenck is a bit of a 
brute. But if the poor devil really is frightened, I'll stop 
it. One of the other men can go in. Schwenck must pay 
him. He gets quite enough out of me." 

Now Pippin, with the hot anger of youth upon whom 


a slight has been laid, had desired earnestly to come to 
closer quarters with Schwenck, the lion-tamer; he had 
also earnestly desired, for a different reason, to come to 
closer quarters with the Countess di Rimini — no Countess 
at all, but a very pretty girl of the circus in masquerade. 
And to find that the man he would have made his enemy 
and the woman he would have liked for a friend were 
father and daughter was a severe shock to him. 

"Is — is Schwenck'-s daughter — er — fond of him?" he 
asked fatuously. 

The ring-master laughed. "Rosie Schwenck," he said, 
"is the only creature in the world that her father, who is 
not at all afraid of wild beasts, knuckles under to. She 
has a will of her own. They say she inherits it from her 
mother, who also tamed lions. And if sweet Rosie really 
wanted to marry into the circus, for instance, or to leave 
it, it would not be Schwenck who would stop her. Oh, I 
believe they are very good friends. Schwenck is a brute,, 
as I said. But he does not dare to behave like a brute to 
her. Come in ! Come in !" 

It was the ring-master's attendant who had knocked, and 
now entered. "Brown is very bad, sir," he said. "Mrs. 
Brown would be very glad if you would kindly step round." 

"Oh, dear, oh, dear!" said the ring-master, rising in- 
stantly. "William, get out a small bottle of champagne 
and bring it along after me. Come with me," he said to 
Pippin, and they went down the steps of the caravan and 
over the grass till they came to another elaborately dec- 
orated one at the end of the row. The ring-master 
knocked and went in, and Pippin followed him, wondering 
a little what he was there for, but unwilling, out of curi- 
osity, to wait outside. 



The interior of the caravan, though nothing to be com- 
pared in point of luxury with the proprietor's, was con- 
venient enough for a travelling home. A diminutive look- 
ing stove with brightly polished pots and pans about it, a 
half open cupboard with plates and glasses and a loaf of 
bread on its shelves, clothes hanging on pegs, and other 
articles of domestic use, showed that it was living-room, 
bed-room, kitchen, larder and pantry in one for its occu- 
pants. But every inch of storage room was made use of 
and nothing was out of its place, and it was surprising 
what an amount of space was left over for its occupants, 
who would certainly be able to make themselves comfort- 
able in it, if comfort depended on their quarters alone. 

But there was bitter trouble in this cosy box of a home, 
sorrow for the poor middle-aged woman who, with the 
paint that had lately given her some illusion of youth 
still on her face, -stood by the bed at the farther end of 
the compartment ; and quickly approaching death for the 
man who was lying on it, breathing painfully, his pale 
wasted face and hpllow eyes showing plainly how far the 
disease which he had fought up to the last had won on 

Pippin stood just inside the doorway, while the ring- 
master went immediately up to the bed and sitting down 
beside it, took the sick man's wrist in his, saying some- 
thing cheerfully commonplace as he did so. It was the 



soothing self-reliant doctor's manner, imitated to perfec- 
tion, and it was difficult to avoid the conviction that to 
assume it gave him considerable pleasure, although his 
attitude lacked nothing in sympathy. 

"It was the last ride," said the man in a low hoarse 
voice, with a faint attempt at a smile. "I'm going now. 
I can't stave it off any longer." 

"Going?" said the ring-master, pocketing his gold 
watch. "Not you, Brown. You want a rest, that's all. 
You've been doing too much. I ought not to have let you 
go on ; but you would do it, you know." 

"I told him it was madness," said the woman. "He has 
not been fit for it these weeks past, and to-night he could 
hardly sit in the saddle. Oh, why did you let him go on? 
You knew about it. You knew how bad he was." 

She turned an accusing face on the ring-master. She 
looked old beyond belief. An artificial pink rose from the 
wreath she had torn off clung to her carefully dressed 
hair; her painted face was lined, and raddled with her 
tears ; from beneath a half -fastened morning dress of dark 
serge, hanging limply, showed pink stockings and slippers 
bound with ribbon. 

Pippin wondered too why the ring-master, knowing 
what he claimed to know of illness, had allowed a man to 
come to this extremity in his service, and he remembered 
that it was not until he himself had remonstrated that 
he had announced his intention of stopping the cruelty 
with which the poor simpleton whom they called "Bogle" 
was treated. But now, as then, his amends were ready to 
hand. He seemed to be a kind man, but one whom kind- 
ness did not lead him to take responsibility for other 
people until his duty was pointed out to him. 



"No good talking of what's past," he said. "You and 
jour husband had your own way. He'll get better. He 
wants a rest, and he shall have it; and you too, Mrs. 
Brown. To-morrow I and my friend here will go into the 
country and find some nice farm-house where you can stay 
and be quiet together for as long as you like. I'll ar- 
range it all for you, and you will have no worry, and no 
expense. Milk and cream and pure air, that's what 
Brown wants, and it, won't do you any harm either." 

The sick man's face had lighted up. "That's good of 
you," he said. "If I'm going to die I should like to die in 
a farm-house. Find one where I can see the ricks from 
my window, and the horses going to the pond to be wa- 
tered, and the ducks in the mud, and hear the cows — 
coming in, and — " 

A fit of coughing stopped him. His wife raised him 
and held his head to her breast, and a handkerchief to his 
mouth, which came away red. 

The ring-master's man came in with the champagne, 
which he had opened. "Have you got plenty of milk for 
the night?" asked the ring-master, turned physician. 

It seemed there was very little milk, and Pippin of- 
fered to go and get some, although at that time of night it 
was difficult to know where he could get it. 

"Thank you," said the ring-master. "Take this jug 
and go round to the other caravans and tents. They will 
each give you a little." 

Pippin did as he was bid, rather pleased even at that 
time at the idea of seeing the other performers of the 
circus in their domestic surroundings. A few of them had 
gone to bed, but most were eating their suppers or putting 
their things away for the night, for in such quarters as 


theirs order is essential for comfort. There was not one 
of them who was not deeply concerned at their comrade's 
state, and not one who did not contribute every drop of 
milk he had, although there was little left from the even- 
ing's supply, and Pippin had visited a dozen tents and 
caravans before he was able to return with his jug full. 

He found the clown, Joey, playing hymn tunes on a 
concertina, an elderly solemn little man in private life, 
with a fat bustling little wife whom Pippin recognized as 
having been present at the sheriff's dinner party, and two 
pretty children who with others had come into the ring on 
tiny ponies and performed an equestrian quadrille, dressed 
as cavaliers and ladies. The acrobatic family were busy 
making up their caravan for the night, the father sitting 
on the steps outside. Signor Franginelli and three other 
male performers were playing cards. They had no milk. 
If it had only been whisky, they said, they would have 
given their last drop. They ended their game and accom- 
panied Pippin to the other caravans, and to one or two 
of the tents, until his jug was full. 

"Maddock ought not to have let him go on," said one 
of them. "He's a good boss, and he's kind-hearted enough, 
but he only thinks about himself and his funny amuse- 

They all agreed to this, but Pippin asked why the sick 
man's wife had let him go on. 

"Oh, poor devils ! it's a question of money," said Signor 
Franginelli, whose real name was Smithers. "It's the 
workhouse for them now. Besides, she couldn't stop him." 

"Maddock will see after him now, all right," said an- 
other. "He won't let them go to the workhouse. I say, 
are you going to try here? This is Schwenck's. 



Pippin hung back, but one of the young men took the 
jug and knocked at the door of the caravan. 

The lion-tamer's daughter came to the door. She had 
on a loose print wrapper, and her thick hair was coiled up 
loosely for the night. Pippin standing in the shadow of 
the van wondered how he could ever have thought of her 
as a married aristocrat. She looked very pretty, but she 
was quite a young girl, and not aristocratic. She said 
they had a little milk left and went inside to get it. 

"I say!" said Smithers. "It was first-class — the way 
you stood up to old Schwenck. We all hate the old beast. 
He's furious with you, though, and so is Rosie." 

"Why?" asked Pippin. 

But the girl came back with the jug, and her father 
with her. "You are welcome to de milk," he said. "Bot 
it is no use. Dot man is on his last legs. He will not ride 

Then he caught sight of Pippin, and his heavy brows 
drew together in a ferocious frown. 

"Oh, it is you," he said. "You and I will talk togeder, 
my friend, to-morrow. I am not treated de way you 
treated me widout saying nodings about it, or doing nod- 
ings eider." 

"I shall be quite ready to talk with you to-morrow," 
said Pippin. "But I will take back the jug now." 

"Is that the young idiot who nearly got himself and you 
killed, father?" asked the girl in a clear voice. "I should 
give him a horse-whipping if I were you." Then she 
turned her back and went into the van and Pippin took his 


"That's Rosie!" said one of the young men with a 
giggle. "Sweet Rosie Schwenck ! They're a pair. 5 



When Pippin got back to the caravan in which the sick 
man lay he found Maddock, the ring-master, and the poor 
wife with very grave faces. Brown's thin cheeks, which 
had been so pale and hollow, were flushed, and he was 
talking* quickly, in a low voice. Maddock sat by the bed, 
and tried every now and then to give him champagne, 
which he waved away with his restless hands, and had 
spilt on the sheets. His wife was at his pillow trying to 
soothe him, and crying, as she murmured, "Lie still, dear, 
lie still. I am here with you." 

"I've sent for a doctor," Maddock whispered, "but I 
think he is going." Pippin sat down on a locker, and 
there was silence, except for the monotonous chatter of 
the dying man, which never ceased. 

His disjointed sentences at first carried no meaning but 
presently Pippin, growing used to his voice, could make 
out a sentence here and there, and then nearly everything. 

The circus, which had been his daily life for so many 
years, had slipped out of his mind completely, and he was 
back again in the home of his boyhood, in the quiet coun- 
try, among the fields and lanes. 

"Get the towels, Tom," he was saying. "It will be 
fresh and cold in the pool. There's the big trout. There ; 
can't you see? Just in the shadow of the rock. Lean 
over him — gently now — tickle for him. Ah, he's away, 
you made a splash. The water's boiling — come out. 
Boiling, mother. The kettle's boiling. Father is in the 
five acres. They have just carried the last load. . . . Ah! 
dear old father! I wish you would speak to me, father. 
I've told you all about it. She's as good as gold. You 
will love her if you will just let her come and see you. 
Father, don't look like that. Say something. 


"Moses in the bulrushes. There's the little baby in the 
cradle. See, Tom? No, not on Sunday. Mustn't play on 
Sundays, Tom. Look at the pictures. Hush ! don't wake 
father. Hear the clock tick. Sit quiet. Listen to the old 
bee buzzing. He's just come in from the pinks. Isn't it 
hot, Tom? Mother has gone to the dairy. It is cool in 
the dairy. Come quietly then and don't wake father. 
He'll be angry. 

"Here we go, Tom. Don't fall off. Hold on tight 
when he puts his head down to drink. Father ! I'm slip- 
ping! I can't stick my knees in. Dobbin's back's too 
big. Why, it's Charlie! I can stick my knees in now. 
Oh, father! my very own? But Tom must ride him too, 
mustn't you, Tom, when you get older. But you can't, 
Tom. You're dead. How's that? You were here just 
now. Can't you get up, Tom? Don't groan so. Poor 
White Stocking! His back's broken. We'll soon have 
him off you. I told you not to ride him. You are not 
strong enough. Oh, Tom, Tom, what will father say? 
He loved you best." 

He lay quiet for a time. His wife cried softly, holding 
his hand in hers. Maddock sat silent by the bed-side 
and looked at his watch every now and then. Outside, 
the noise and movement had subsided. The circus people 
were sleeping or preparing to sleep. It was very 

An hour went by and the doctor had not come, nor had 
Maddock's messenger returned. 

Then the sick man began to mutter again, incoherently 
at first, but by and by in a louder voice, sentences appear- 
ing and gradually becoming more connected. His whole 
life seemed to be passing in front of him, sunny and shel- 


tered at first, as he babbled of the sights and sounds of 
the farm yard, the garden, and the orchard, the woods 
and hedgerows in the spring, birds nesting, bathing in the 
cool stream, the village church, cricket on the village 
green, Christmas time in the big farm-house, snowballing 
and skating — Pippin saw his life as it had been, much like 
his own, happy and active, abounding in health; he felt 
as if he had known his father, stern, rather terrifying, 
but with a power of arousing admiration and affection, 
his mother, busy and warm-hearted, his younger brother, 
bright and eager, over whom lay the shadow of early 

He saw the shadow deepening over the big house and 
wide fields, the son restless and discontented, as he himself 
had been, but with more reason: his mother sad and dis- 
pirited, his father violently morose. And then his passion 
for the girl of the circus, innocent enough, and his plead- 
ing with his parents to take him back into their favour; 
then a clean break and no more talk of his early home or 
of his father and mother. 

The life of the circus then, always moving from place 
to place, plodding along roads interminably, the buying 
and breaking of horses, his schemes and ideas for perform- 
ances in the ring, no glamour, a rather hard life of work 
and continuous movement, but not an unhappy one, some 
friendships and always apparent the affection for the wife 
who had cost him his home and his inheritance. 

The night wore on. Maddock's servant returned and 
whispered that he had ridden miles to find the doctor, who 
had been summoned into the country and would come as 
soon as he was free. It was plain then that he could do 
nothing when he did come. The sick man was sinking. 


He lay for long periods comatose, and then talked on in 
a low monotonous murmur. 

About three o'clock in the morning, after a long period 
during which nothing of what he said could be understood, 
his voice became louder and clearer. His cheeks were 
hectic, his eyes wide open. Pippin, looking at him, 
thought that he had taken a turn for the better, as if 
consciousness had returned to him, and as if he were 

"Now quiet, my beauty ! In a minute, in a minute ! On 
you go then! It's you they are cheering, Black Bess, not 
me. Over you go ! Ah, they can't follow us there. You 
took it like a bird. Oh, let's get on . . . get on. A 
gallop, and a jump and then stand still . • • it's always 
the same. Come away, the way is clear at last. At last. 
Now settle down to it, my brave girl. York is miles ahead, 
but we'll outstrip them. Gallop, gallop, gallop, under the 
moon. Ah, the gate's shut and they're close behind us. 
Steady now! Pull yourself together. I've hit him; the 
way's clear. No ! Good girl, good girl ! Now, we'll gain 
on them. But they're fresh and you've galloped for 
miles, my black beauty. Here, take a drink, we've got a 
minute to spare. On again. Ah, that's better. This is 
glorious. We've never done this before, Black Bess. It's 
our last ride together. Let's get away from everything. 
We'll find Tom at York, Bess. Tom and White Stock- 
ing. They're not really dead. And father. If you can 
get there hell be so pleased. Kitty and I can go home 
together. Such a good feed you'll have in the old stable, 
and I'll show Kitty the house and the garden when I've 
made you all snug. Keep it up, Black Bess. It's the last 
ride. Now, pull up for a second. Do you hear them? 


Yes, they're gaining, but we'll outstrip them yet. On 
again; only a few miles more. Ah, my beauty! You're 
nearly done. Now wait . . . quite still! There's old 
fat Snoring in front. What is he doing here? I'll wing 
him. Ah, ha! That's done the trick. Now, on again! 
Snoring isn't hurt. They'll wait a bit with him. There 
are the lights. Only a mile more. Keep up, keep up. 
Now we've done them. They can't catch us now. Why, 
there's Tom on White Stocking. I knew he wasn't dead. 
Tom ! Tom ! He's waving to us. And father ! He wants 
us home. . . . Home, . . • Bess, • • • Kitty • • • we're 
home at last." 

He sank back on his pillow. His wife, weeping bitterly, 
drew his head on to her breast, heedless of the blood that 
gushed from his mouth and stained her gown. But he had 
ridden his last ride. He was at home again. 



Pippin might have slept until noon the next day, but he 
was aroused about nine o'clock by a vigorous shake of 
the shoulder, and sat up in bed to find Maddock, the 
circus proprietor, standing over him. 

"You sleep sound, my young friend," he said. "I 
knocked at your door and could not wake you, so I made 
bold to come in. Put on your clothes and come down to 
me. I have something important to say to you." 

He went out of the room, and Pippin jumped from his 
bed and dressed quickly. The events of the previous 
night, forgotten in his deep sleep, came back to him. He 
had left the poor fairy of the circus weeping over her 
dead, and Maddock consoling her, with more tact than 
might have been expected of him, though in face of such 
grief and such a loss it was little enough that he could 
do. Pippin had never looked upon death before, and he 
had crept away to his inn, sad at heart and with a feeling 
of awe at the sight of that great mystery. His night's 
sleep and the bright new day had already lessened the 
effect of what he had seen, and as he dressed he wondered 
what the proprietor had to say to him. 

Maddock was in the parlour of the inn, making friends 

with the landlord and his wife, who were pleased to get 

the story of the tragedy that had occurred from the lips 

of such an authority. 

"Riding and lepping one minute, cold and dead the 



next," said the landlord. " 'Tis well said that all flesh 
is grass." And his wife said, "Ah, that's a true word, 
and here's the gentleman for his breakfast." 

"Now, look here," said the ring-master to Pippin when 
they were alone together. "Why I didn't think of it last 
night I don't know; but you must understand that when 
I am called on to play the doctor all else goes out of my 
head. I think that poor fellow went out of the world as 
comfortably as if a regular practitioner had had the han- 
dling of him. What do you think ?" 

Pippin thought it was quite possible, and wandered 
what was coming next. 

"Now it has occurred to me that you are the very man 
to fill his place," said Maddock. "The idea came to me 
as I was shaving. What do you say?" 

'What, ride in the circus?" exclaimed Pippin. 
'Yes. Bless you, there's nothing low about that. You 
put on a fine suit of clothes and you bestride a fine horse. 
And you are the hero of the evening. There's not a girl 
in any place we perform in that won't be dying to make 
friends with you. You won't do a hand's turn. The 
stablemen will look after your horse. You will be a gen- 
tleman, inside the ring and out of it." 

"I wasn't thinking of that," said Pippin, who was not 
a little moved at the prospect held out to him, in which 
he was young enough to scent honour and glory; for 
though he had a shrewd head on his shoulders and was as 
modest as becomes a youth, he had not yet gone past the 
years in which it is pleasant to play a gallant part in the 
eyes of the world and to sniff the applause that comes of 
it. "I should like it," he said. "But I don't know whether 
I could." 



"Why? You are your own master, you told me. You 
would see more of life travelling with us than walking by 
yourself. You would be put to no expense for living. In 
fact I would pay you something, after a short trial. 
Come now, it isn't a chance that everybody would get; 
but I have taken to you, and I should like to have you 
with me." 

"I would come if I thought I could play the part," 

"You can ride and jump, can't you?" 

"I could do that part of it, and with such a mount I 
should enjoy it. But the words — " 

"Oh, the words! There are very few of them. You 
can learn them in an hour, and we will have a rehearsal 
to give you your cues. It is an easy job, and it would 
be all I should ask you to do except to give an eye to the 
horses generally, and every now and then to pick up a 
likely new one. You have had the same sort of training 
as poor Brown, and you might be as useful to me as he 
was. If you are, there is a good living in it for you. 
And I am quite sure that you and I could get on well 
together. Give it a trial, at any rate." 

So Pippin consented, and went back with his new friend 
to the field where the circus was encamped. 

He found a scene of great confusion in progress. The 
great tent in which the performance was held had already 
been struck, and with the other tents used as temporary 
stables and quarters for the attendants and work people, 
was in course of being loaded on to wagons. Men and 
women and children were here and there about the cara- ' 
vans, those of them who had appeared in brave costumes 
the night before looking as if they had suddenly descended 
several steps of the social ladder, but also as if they did 


not mind having done so ; for it was a fine spring morning 
and they were about to take the road. That was the part 
of their life that did not pall, when the sun shone and the 
wind sang and they went on through the green country. 
The lights and the applause of the evening were not to be 
compared with it, and it was better to be yourself, plain 
John or Kate of the common people, with your bread to 
earn and your friends to keep, than to play at lords and 
ladies, though that was pleasant too, in youth and for a 

As Pippin came into the encampment with the master 
of the circus, they met a sad little procession. The body 
of the man whose place Pippin was to take, enclosed in a 
wooden shell, was being carried away on a cart. By its 
side walked the widow, already in a black dress and a black 
bonnet. The gilded and emblazoned caravan in which 
she and her husband had lived their married life, travelling 
from place to place with much external splendour, and 
within some homeliness and contentment, was her home no 
longer. In that life of constant movement there could be 
no lingering in surroundings dear to memory. Death had 
severed her from them in a few hours, and with her hus- 
band's body she took away the few possessions that had 
been his and hers, and left the gilded van to be occupied 
by others. 

The men who were at work in the field left off as the 
coffin was drawn past them, and stood in silence with 
heads bared. Some women pressed round the poor widow 
and bade her farewell, with tears and words of sympathy. 
They made way for the circus proprietor as he and Pippin 
entered the enclosure, and Maddock shook hands with the 
woman and talked to her for a little. When he rejoined 


Pippin he said, "If she wants to come back, 111 find a 
place for her. But I don't think she will. She'll be all 
right for a time, anyhow, and then we will see what we can 
do for her." From which Pippin gathered that he had be- 
haved generously according to his lights; and he after- 
wards learnt that this was the case. 

But the Fairy Firefly he saw no more. Creeping age 
and sudden sorrow had made an end of her, and it was a 
Fairy Rosebud, a slip of a girl with smooth pink cheeks 
and a laughing mouth, who took her place in the ring 
and leapt through the hoops of flame and the hoops of 

Presently all was ready and the circus took the road. 
First went the carts with the gear and the men who looked 
after it, for they had to be at the place where the night's 
halt was to be made and have everything ready for the 
reception of the circus proper. When they had moved 
off and been given a clear start, the circus horses led the 
"way for the second contingent, some led by grooms, some 
ridden. Then came the caravans, each drawn by two 
horses, and driven by the men who occupied them, their 
families or companions walking by the side or busy with 
their duties within. The great elephant lumbered out 
swinging his trunk, with his keeper seated on his head. 

The lions' cage, closely boarded, was near the end of the 
procession, and behind it Herr Schwenck's van, which was 
driven by a groom, and neither the lion tamer nor his 
daughter was to be seen. At the end of all came the pro- 
prietor's caravan, more gorgeous outside than the rest, 
and a smaller one behind it which was used as a kitchen 
and store-room for himself alone and for quarters for his 
servant. Mr. Maddock travelled as comfortably as any 


man in the country, and his dwelling place was always at 
hand, though he paid no rent for it. 

When he had seen the last of his belongings off the 
ground he invited Pippin inside his«van. "You will like to 
walk or ride as a rule," he said, "but we have a good deal 
to settle to-day, and had better pretend we are sitting in 
a room indoors. When there is work to be done you must 
learn to forget that you are travelling." 

It was not very easy. The sun shone in at the little 
muslin-curtained windows, trees and hedgerows passed by, 
the fresh air came in through the door, of which the upper 
half was open, invitingly, and the gentle swaying of the 
great van, although its rubber tires and strong springs 
of steel took off as much as possible of the motion, con- 
veyed the idea of pleasant progress. Pippin would have 
liked to be out of doors ; he had come to dislike the feeling 
of confinement within walls ; and the idea came to him that 
he had been unwise to bind himself to any occupation, 
however attractive it might be. But he had done so, for a 
time at any rate, and he resigned himself to the loss of 
his freedom and set himself with a sigh to his new duties. 

Maddock gave him a manuscript copy of the words he 
would have to speak in his part of Dick Turpin. There 
were not many of them, for his appearances as a rule 
explained themselves. "You will have plenty of time to 
learn it all by to-morrow," said Maddock; "and we will 
have a rehearsal in the afternoon." 

There was to be no performance that evening. They 
were timed to reach the next town at noon on the follow- 
ing day, and would find everything prepared for them. 

"Now we will go on to the wardrobe van," said the pro- 
prietor, "and get you fitted out for the part. 3 



They walked on together along the line of moving cara- 
vans which had begun to straggle a little. They passed 
that of the family of acrobats. The elder son was driving 
the horses, the mother was sitting in the doorway sewing, 
and the father with the younger children was walking. 

"What is it this morning? 9 ' asked Maddock as they 

"Mental arithmetic," replied the acrobat. He had a 
little book in his hand, and Maddock and Pippin walked 
with him until he had propounded a problem concerning 
the consumption of plums by a greedy boy called Tom and 
an abstemious boy called Harry, and received the correct 
answer. "Good girl, Molly ! go up top," he said as one of 
them lit upon it, and the youngest child, a pretty little girl 
of about ten with dark curls and big eyes, took her place 
next to him, elbowing out an elder sister. 

"A very good fellow, Polder," said the proprietor as 
they walked on. "He teaches his children like that every 
morning. In our life it is difficult to see that the children 
are properly educated. But there's no trouble about his." 

They passed the lions' cage, and in front of it the 
van of their owner. Herr Otto Schwenck was sitting in 
the doorway reading a paper. Maddock greeted him 
cheerfully, and he looked up, but when he saw Pippin his 
face became red and angry. 

"Ah, it is you, is it?" he said. "If you gome near me 
I will give you a horsevipping." 

"No, you won't, Schwenck," said Maddock. "This gen- 
tleman is one of us now. He is taking poor Brown's 
place. I'll have no quarrelling among my people. You 
know that well enough." 

The German rose, and holding on by the door frame, 


poured out a flood of excited guttural language. "You 
vill have, you vill not have, Mr. Maddog!" he exclaimed. 
"Vot is it you are saying to me? You are not my master. 
You mind your own business. Dis young man and me vill 
seddle togeder. You saw him vid your own eyes throw 
a glass of vine at my face, and dot is a ding I vill pud 
up vid from no man. And let me tell you dis, Mr. Mad- 
dog, if I had nod had my vits aboud me, dere vould have 
been a very nasty accidend. If de lions vos to see me 
attacked in der cage dey vould be on me in a flash, soh ! 
and dere vould nod have been moch of dis fine chentleman 
left ; nor of your circus, ven de facts became known." 

"Yes, that's all right, Schwenck," said Maddock. "I 
saw that and stopped the business. And you got the 
beasts under. No harm was done, and it won't occur 
again. Don't make a fuss about nothing." 

"Ye call it nodings !" cried the angry tamer. "You saw 
him wid your own eyes trow a glass of vine at my face ; 
and you heard him call me an obrobrious name." 

"Well, he was only giving back what he got," said 
Maddock, "but I dare say he will apologize for it and 
end the matter." 

"No, I won't apologize," said Pippin hotly. "Why on 
earth should I? Any one would think, to hear Mr. 
Schwenck or whatever his name is, that I had insulted him 
without any provocation. What about him banging me 
about the head and squirting soda water at me and calling 
me plough boy?" 

"Well, aren't you a plough boy?" 

It was the Countess di Rimini, otherwise Miss Rosie 
Schwenck, who had asked the question. She had come to 
the door of the van, and was looking at Pippin with a face 

174. PIPPIN 

of cool scorn. She wore a coat and skirt of blue serge 
and a hat of dark brown straw, and if she did not in that 
costume look like an Italian Countess she did look a very 
pretty girl with a beautiful figure, although her attrac- 
tions were not increased in Pippin's eyes by the look with 
which she surveyed him. He dropped his eyes and made 
no reply to her. 

But Maddock said: "Now then, Rosie, we don't want 
any of your impudence. Captain Glanville is a gentle- 
man as any one can see with eyes in their head ; and yours 
are clear enough." 

"Captain Glanville!" she repeated with infinite con- 
tempt. "A pretty Captain! He is no more a Captain 
than I am." 

" — a Countess," added Pippin, raising his eyes to her, 
and she turned her back and went into the van. "But 
I'm not going to be called Captain Glanville," he said to 
the proprietor. "I won't take a style that I've no right 

"You don't want to appear under your own name, I 
suppose. You are the son of a rich country gentleman 
travelling for your pleasure, and if you like to amuse 
yourself with us for a time it is not to be brought up 
against you. Glanville is a good enough stage name. I 
thought of it this morning as I was shaving. And as for 
the captain — you can take it or leave it as you please." 

"I will leave it," said Pippin. "But I don't object to 
the Glanville. I don't care about using my own name, 
although when you say my father is — " 

"Then that's settled," Maddock broke in rather hur- 
riedly. "Schwenck, I've something else to say to you. 
Mr. Glanville is quite right. It is ridiculous to suppose 


you are going to get a gentleman of quality inside your 
den of lions and treat him as you did without his round- 
ing on you. And not only that — " 

"How vos I to know he vos a gentleman?" interrupted 
the tamer sulkily. "He does not dress like one. But we 
vill let bygones by bygones. Only I tell him dis, dat he 
vos very near his death last night, and me too." 

His attitude, although still the reverse of amiable, had 
undergone a change, perhaps as the result of Maddock's 
description of Pippin's social status, a description which 
nothing that had been told him warranted. But the pub- 
lic, which loves a play-actor, loves him all the better if 
there is reason to suppose that he is also something be- 
sides, and Maddock's eye was keenly alive to the tastes of 
his patrons ; also, it appeared, to those of the lion-tamer. 

"Well, it's all over now," he said, "and nothing more 
is to be said about it. And look here, Schwenck, Bogle is 
frightened to death of the lions. You can't use him any 


"What, dot fool?" exclaimed the tamer. "Is he a gen- 
tleman travelling for his pleasure? Vot nonsense! He 
is my servant and I shall use him as I please." 

"No, you won't," said Maddock. "He'll have a fit 
inside the cage one of these days, and then there'll be a 
pretty commotion. You must get one of the men, and 
pay him. Now mind, Bogle doesn't go into the cage 
again ;" and he walked on with Pippin and left the tamer 
to digest his ultimatum. 

"I know how to treat Schwenck," he said. "Be friendly 
but firm ; and that's my rule with everybody. There's very 
little friction, all things considered, and if there is I can 
always stop it. Hulloa, Bogle! Had a good breakfast?" 


The idiot boy — he was little above that in intellect — 
was coming back towards Schwenck's van carrying a pail 
of water. He had an old scarlet coat and a hat with 
several feathers in it. He grinned all over his great fool- 
ish face at the question, and said : "More I more !" 

"No more till dinner time," said Maddock. "You are 
not to go inside the lion's cage any more. You'll be 
pleased at that, won't you?" 

He did not seem to understand what was said to him. 
But at the word lion his face changed and a shadow of 
that look of terror which Pippin had seen before came 
over it. Then he carried his eyes to Pippin's face — he 
had not looked at him before — and his face changed again 
and expanded into a broad grin. "Bogle, google," he said 
and nodded his head vigorously in token of gratitude and 

"Poor devil !" said Maddock as they walked on. "I 
don't know where Schwenck picked him up, but he makes 
him useful. I pay him a shilling or two a week as well, 
and he spends it all on food. There would be money in 
him as a champion eater, but I don't care for that class of 
business. This is Mother Bunch's van." 

They went up the stairs and into the van. Its interior 
was very small, for all round the sides were drawers and 
lockers, and from hooks a great variety of garments hung 
suspended. An old woman sat at a table with a sewing 
machine before her and a great billowy mass of pink mus- 
lin, and by her side stood a pretty child of fourteen or so, 
in an ugly tartan dress. 

"Well, Fairy Rosebud," said Maddock, taking her little 
chin in his fingers. "You've got a lift up, haven't you? 
Going to be a good girl and practise hard, are you?" 


"Yes, sir," said the girl, showing her white teeth. "I 
shall be able to do it barebacked in a week, I think." 

"I don't like these bareback turns, Mr. Maddock," 
said the old woman, shaking her head. "Mr. Brown didn't 
like them neither and wouldn't let Mrs. Brown try. I've 
half a mind not to let Lizzie take it on." 

"Oh, Granny !" said the girl, "if you practise well and 
are very careful, there's no danger at all ; and it looks so 
much better than jumping about on a board, which any 
one can do." 

"Looks !" grumbled the old woman. "It's all looks with 

"And so it ought to be in a public performance," said 
Maddock. "You're a good girl, Lizzie. You practise 
well, and when you can do the turn safely barebacked you 
shall have more money. Your Granny won't object to 
that, I know. Now here's Mr. Granville going to play 
Turpin, Mother Bunch. What have you got for him?" 

As a result of the investigation that followed Pippin 
found himself the owner of a riding suit of dark green, a 
three-cornered hat to match, a brown wig with a black 
ribbon, and a pair of high boots with plated spurs, and 
retired to Maddock's van to try them on. He could not 
help being pleased with his appearance as he stood up in 
them, and Maddock said that with a little alteration of the 
coat, and a lace tie and ruffles, he would look as hand- 
some a Dick Turpin as had ever ridden the ring. 

There was a halt at midday and he and Maddock 
lunched together. "Where am I to sleep?" asked Pippin. 

"I'll give you a shake down here to-night," said Mad- 
dock. "I'm having Brown's van thoroughly cleaned out — 
poor fellow ! I want to use it partly as an office^ but, bar 


that , you can have it for yourself. There'll be plenty of 
room, and you will be more comfortable there than chum- 
ming in with somebody else. You can feed with me. 
We shall get on very well together, I'm sure, and we have 
plenty of tastes in common." 

These dispositions for his welfare pleased Pippin. 
Maddock was treating him very well. He had offered him 
•a salary, which was not very big, but seemed to him hand- 
some, considering that his expenses would be nil; and, if 
he "suited," more was to be paid to him after a month. 
And it would be good to have his quarters to himself, 
especially such fascinating ones. Everything smiled on 
him, and he set himself arduously to learn his part, 
sitting alone in Maddock' s van, which swung on steadily 
during the afternoon between the fields and hedgerows. 



The Circus halted for the night on the outskirts of a 
large village. Maddock's agent had hired a grass field 
from a farmer, and there the caravans were ranged in a 
row as before, and the tents for the horses and for the 
attendants were set up in an orderly camp. Maddock 
was a skilful general. Everything was done on an ar- 
ranged plan. Every one had certain duties to perform, 
and, camping as they did on new ground most nights of 
the year, there was as little friction as might be. At five 
o'clock the front of the procession filed into the field; at 
six there was a little hamlet of tents and vans, which 
might have been there for a month past, and all that re- 
mained for its occupants to do was to procure provisions 
for the evening and the next morning. 

Pippin, whose mental labours were over for the time 
being, lent a hand with the horses, which were stabled in 
long tents already put up by the advance party. He 
found Black Bess with the rest, and the man who was in 
charge of her said that she didn't seem to take to her 
feed. Brown had always fed her himself, and she missed 

Pippin went up to her, and she turned her beautiful lean 
head towards him, with its silky restless ears and deli- 
cately carved nostrils, and in her eye he seemed to see a 
question that she could not utter. Where was the man 

whom she had served and who had cherished her day by 



day for so long, and what was he, a stranger, doing there 
in his place? He fondled her and spoke gently to her, 
and she nosed him and seemed half satisfied that he meant 
her well. He told the stableman that he was to take 
Brown's place for the present and that he would look 
after the mare as Brown had done. 

"What, you !" said the groom, looking at him. "What 
about the other, then?" 

"What other?" asked Pippin. 

"Why, him as was to have had the job when poor 
Brown got past it?" 

"I don't know anything about that," said Pippin. 
"Who was to have had it?" 

"Oh, it's none of my business," said the man, moving 
off. "You'll find out." 

Pippin was a little disturbed at this, although, when 
he thought of it, it was plain that some provision must 
have been made for such a contingency as had occurred, 
and that his having dropped from the clouds at the right 
moment would be to the disappointment of some one who 
might have hoped for the reversion of Brown's part. He 
thought that Maddock might have warned him of this. 
He had started with the circus on bad terms with the lion- 
tamer, and apparently with his daughter, and he did not 
want to have another enemy to deal with. 

As he went out of the tent where the horses were stabled 
he met the young man Smithers, otherwise Signor Frangi- 
nelli, who, with a companion, both carrying big jugs, were 
going off to the village to get the material for their even- 
ing refreshment. Smithers had been friendly the night 
before when he had gone round the camp to get milk for 
the dying man, but now, when he caught sight of Pippin, 


he stuck a thumb in the armhole of his waistcoat, threw 
back his head, and changed his walk to a strut. u 0h, 
here's me lord," he said. "Been to look at his hunters in 
the stable, by jove! Haw!" The last expression repre- 
sented a clearing of the throat, as it were, by a man of 
high station. 

Pippin realized at once that Smithers was the man he 
had unwittingly displaced, and that he felt sore about it. 

"Why, what's the matter?" he said. "We were very 
good friends last night, I thought." 

Smithers took off his cloth cap with a sweep, and bowed 
low. "Oh, no, me lord," he said in a tone of withering 
humility. "It is not to be expected that a fine gentleman 
like you should make friends with an individual so far 
beneath you as your humble. But allow me to thank you 
for the condescension all the same, rat you!" He ended 
with sharp vehemence, and glared at Pippin out of a pair 
of faint brown eyes with great ferocity. His straw- 
coloured hair, which had been crimped and frizzed out for 
the purposes of his share in the entertainment, hung limply 
over a narrow brow, and a somewhat receding chin dimin- 
ished the effect of his anger, which, however, seemed deep 
enough to cause him great discomfort. 

"Come on, then," said Pippin. "Out with it! What's 
the trouble?" 

"Trouble!" echoed Smithers, with a snort of derision. 
<r What's the trouble? Here's an individual working hard! 
to keep himself, and getting little enough pay for it, and 
is promised, or as good as, a step up when another indi- 
vidual is past his work. And what happens? An indi- 
vidual comes ladida-ing in and sneaks his job. That's the 
trouble, me lord, and now you know ; and you know what 


I think of you, and it isn't as much as you think of your- 
self by a very long chalk, and that it isn't either." 

"You mean you were to have taken Brown's place," said 
Pippin, "and I have got it instead." 

"Oh, come on, Jim," said Smithers to his friend. 
"What's the good of talking to the fool? I'll be even with 
him some other way." And he made as if to continue an 
interrupted journey. 

"Here, wait a minute," said Pippin, planting himself in 
his path. "I'm sorry you are disappointed, but you 
mustn't call me names, you know." 

"Ho, mustn't I, me lord?" said the incensed Smithers. 

"No, Signor," replied Pippin. 

"Ha ! ha ! very funny ! Very funny indeed ! That's the 
trick you tried on with old Schwenck, and he gave you a 
bat on the head for it. Ill do the same if I get any of 
your lip; so now you know." 

"No, I don't know," said Pippin, beginning to get an- 
noyed. "But you can try it on now if you like." 

They stood glaring at one another, two very young men 
both ready for a quarrel, Smithers the more angry of the 
two, Pippin the more ready for the possible result of his 
anger. Smithers' companion thought it time to inter- 
vene. He was a stocky little man with a good-natured 
face. "Well, I suppose you ain't going to fight it out 
now," he said. "I want my beer." 

"Go and get your beer, then," said Pippin, stepping 
inside, "and don't speak to me like that again." 

What reply the angry Smithers might have made was 
cut short by the appearance of Miss Rosie Schwenck, who 
had been watching the passage from the platform of her fa- 
ther's van, and now strolled unconcernedly across the 


grass towards them. She was behind Pippin, and he was 
first aware of her presence when she said in her clear cool 
voice: "You mustn't hurt Captain Glanville, Smithers. 
He will tell Maddock if you do anything to him." 

Pippin turned round, his face aflame. The girl had 
made an impression on him, and her scorn was harder 
to bear. And he was very young. "He is not going 
to hurt me," he said. "It will be the other way about, 
if he doesn't mend his manners." 

"Oh, will it?" exclaimed Smithers rhetorically, and 
Rosie Schwenck said: "We shan't come to you for a 
lesson in manners. Come along, Smithers, I am going 
for a little walk, and you and Fraddle can come with 
me if you like." 

She moved off, apparently quite sure of being fol- 
lowed, and Smithers and his friend followed her, leaving 
Pippin by himself, angry, but not knowing in the least 
how he could overcome the prejudice against him. 

It was small balm to his wounded spirit to see the 
grinning face of Bogle advancing towards him. He was 
accompanied by a little girl, the daughter of Joey the 
clown, and carried a big white jug. He poured out a 
flood of his apparently meaningless bogle googles, as 
he came up to Pippin, grinning all the while, in great 
good humour. 

"He says," said the little girl, "that he is not to go 
into the lion's cage any more, and he is very glad of it." 

"I am very glad too," said Pippin. "Where are you 
both going?" 

"Bogle, google," said the simpleton repeatedly. 

"We are going to get milk and eggs," said the child, 
"and he wants you to come with us. He likes you." 


So Pippin went with them out of the field and through 
the farm steading. "Do you understand everything he 
says?" asked Pippin of the child. 

"Of course," she replied loftily. "I take care of him. 
His name is Will Goldflake. He doesn't like to be called 
Bogle, so please remember." 

"I will remember," said Pippin. "Did he tell you that 
his name was Will Goldflake?" 

"Of course he did, or I couldn't have known. It was 
on a tobacco tin." 

Pippin was left to make what he could of this informa- 
tion. "My father," said the child, "says that he has 
an immortal soul. You are glad of that, aren't you, 
Will Goldflake?" 

The simpleton made reply in his own language, and 
the child said: "When my father talks to him he always 
gives him something to eat afterwards. He is generally 
hungry. He wants to know if he can come to our van 
this evening. Yes, Will Goldflake, you may come if you 
sit quiet and listen to father. Perhaps you will find salva- 
tion. Have you found salvation yet?" she asked, turn- 
ing her large eyes on Pippin, who was so taken aback 
by this question that he could find no reply. 

But she did not wait for one. "They call my father 
Chaplain Joey," she said. "He is a very good man. 
I know that, although he says he is the chief of sinners. 
He generally preaches on Sundays. You must come 
and hear him." 

Pippin promised to do so, wondering what strange 
thing he should hear next of the people of the circus. 
They got their jug filled at the door of the farm-house 


and the little girl paid for the milk with coppers, and 
asked if she could buy some eggs. 

"Lor bless you!" said the farmer's wife, beaming at 
her, her arms akimbo. "Your people have cleared me 
out. Why didn't you come earlier, my dear? You're 
a pretty little thing now, and what might you do in 
the circus?" 

"I ride on a pony," said the little girl. "But if you 
haven't any eggs could you direct me where to get them? 
Mother wants to make a pudding." 

The farmer's wife laughed. "If that is all," she said. 
"I daresay I can oblige you, and perhaps two or three 
new-laid ones besides," and she went in and brought out 
& basketful. 

The little girl thanked her gravely, paid what she was 
asked and handed the woman a printed tract. "My 
father says will you oblige him by reading that and think- 
ing it over?" she said. 

"Lor' bless my soul!" exclaimed the woman, taking 
the tract, which was entitled "Thou Shalt Do No Mur- 
der," and the little girl moved away, followed by Pippin 
and Will Goldflake, who carried the jug of milk carefully 
and gloated over it. 

On the way back the little girl showed some mundane 
curiosity concerning Pippin's future. "Is it true that 
you are going to take Mr. Brown's place?" she asked 
him, and expressed herself pleased to hear that he was. 
"I like you," she said, looking straight at him out of 
her big serious eyes. "You have been kind to Will Gold- 
flake. And he likes you too. He said so. But you 
mustn't let the gaudy trappings of the circus lead you 
astray. Father says that that is the danger of our life, 


and that if he catches us at it — me and Sophie — hell 
wallop us well. He thinks Mr. Brown has gone to 
heaven, but he's not sure. You would like father. Will 
you come and see him now? He would like to have a 
straight talk with you, I'm sure." 

Pippin accepted this invitation, so far as to stand out- 
aide the clown's van while the little girl took the milk 
and the eggs from Will Goldflake and went inside. 

The clown came out. He did not look in the least like 
a clown now. He was a solemn little man with a wrinkled 
face, and was dressed in an old suit of a nondescript 
colour, not very clean. He shook hands with Pippin and 
called him "brother," asking him if he was a Christian, 
to which Pippin replied that he hoped he was. 

"Ah," said the clown, "you may well say that. It's a 
blessed thing to be certain of your calling and election. 
Let us walk up and down on the grass and talk together." 

Pippin was a little nervous at this invitation, but Chap- 
lain Joey seemed only to want a hearer, and began to 
talk at once. 

"People will tell you," he said, "that it is impossible 
to lead the life I am doing and keep your religion. I 
hope I know better. I consider myself called to keep 
the light burning in this circus just as much as if I was 
to settle down and preach in a chapel. Thanks to me, 
sinner as I am, there is less to complain of in the way 
of loose behaviour in this company than in any on the 
road; and I know what I am talking about, for before 
I was converted I went with several, and was as bad as 
anybody — in fact worse, for I had had the benefit of a 
godly home, and they hadn't. Oh, I assure you I was 
.a very great sinner. It was a great triumph when they 


got hold of me. I dare say you have seen my name now, 
billed for meetings." 

"No," said Pippin. 

"Oh!" said the clown, evidently disappointed. "I am 
pretty well known. 'Joey, the Converted Clown.' Are 
you sure you've never heard of me?" 

"Never," said Pippin. 

"Well, perhaps you haven't been about the world much. 
I'm a great draw. I tell them all about my past life. 
You could hear a pin drop. There will be a meeting in 
the town where we stop next week. I will get you a 
ticket for the platform." 

"No, thank you," said Pippin. "I don't want to hear 
about your past life. If it was as bad as you say, you 
might keep it to yourself for the sake of your children." 

"Eh?" said the clown, greatly astonished. 

"If - you have so much to be ashamed of," said Pippin, 
"I should keep quiet about it if I were you." 

"Ashamed of!" echoed the clown. "What do you 
mean? I've nothing to be ashamed of." 

"Oh, I beg your pardon, then. I thought you said 
you had." 

"I said I had been a very great sinner. That is quite 
a different thing. Young man, I am afraid I was mis- 
taken in you. I thought you had found the truth." 

"Well, I am afraid I was mistaken in you," retorted 
Pippin. "I don't understand the things you talk about so 
glibly. So I'll wish you good evening." He swung off 
indignantly. Like all honest youths he hated a humbug, 
and thought he had found one here. But no man is alto- 
gether a hypocrite, just as no man is altogether a saint. 
Maddock, of whom he made enquiries concerning Chap- 


lain Joey as they supped together gave him a fair char- 

"He's all right," he said, "and always was. Before 
he took to the preaching line I daresay he used to 
drink a pint of beer sometimes and now he drinks none. 
And he may have dropped a mild oath occasionally, 
same as the rest of us, without meaning much by it. 
'Course, when you get on to a platform or into a pulpit 
you've got to turn that into hard drinking and hard swear- 
ing, or nobody'U think anything of you. He gets more 
excitement out of his preaching now than ever he did out 
of what he calls his life of sin, and he gets what most 
people want to keep them going, over and above their 
work; he gets consideration." 

"Consideration !" repeated Pippin, not quite under- 

"You won't meet many people," said Maddock, "who 
don't want to be a little different from everybody else — 
looked up to — thought something of. It's a natural 
weakness. I was thinking over it the other day when 
I was shaving. I suppose you might say it's the dignity 
of human nature asserting itself. You will hear people 
say what an unaccountable thing it is that poor people 
spend such a lot of money and make so much fuss over 
a funeral. I don't think it's an unaccountable thing 1 
at all. Death is always touching us, but we never get 
used to it. It's a very big thing. It does give dignity, 
and when it comes their way they make the most of it. 
A man will pride himself on being well, or on getting 
up early in the morning, or on having more hair than 
other people, or on having a great deal less. There's 
nothing he won't pride himself on, as long as it makes 


him a little different from the rest. If Chaplain Joey 
were a first-class clown he might be content with that, 
for people love a good clown. But he isn't, so he's got 
to be something else besides, and as far as I'm concerned 
he's worth more to me as he is than if he showed up better 
in the ring. And I don't have to pay him so much.'* 

Maddock laughed, as if to show that his cynicism was 
only half sincere. 

"I thought he wasn't bad in the ring," said Pippin. 

"No, he isn't bad. But there are thousands of people 
who aren't bad at anything. If they get a job they'll 
do it as well as the next man, but they don't do it so 
well that you've got to give it 'em. That's the difference 
between a first-class man and a second-class man, and I 
don't care whether he's a clown or a cabinet minister." 

"He says that it is owing to him that this circus is so 
much better behaved than any other," said Pippin. 

u 0h, does he? Well, he's welcome to the opinion. I've 
got an idea that I've something to do with it myself. 
But, I'll tell you what, the women have a great deal 
more to do with it than either of us. Mrs. Pringle — 
Chaplain Joey's wife, for instance — now, there's a good 
woman. Puts up with her husband's nonsense — well, I 
call it nonsense, though I wouldn't say a word against 
religion — and just goes her own way. Keeps her own 
children neat and clean and well-behaved, and gives an 
eye to the girls who are here on their own. So does Mr. 
Polder — you know, the Polder Troupe of Acrobats. So 
did poor Mrs. Brown. Funny thing! Women cling to 
respectability, if you give 'em the chance ; and I do give 
'em a chance here. They are a lot better housed than 
any others of their kind I've ever come across, and it 


would surprise you the number of applicants I have from 
other shows to join ours. I'm a respectable man myself, 
and I wouldn't allow the things that go on in some travel- 
ling shows. It pays too. Maddock's Circus has a good 
reputation all over the country. I get chaffed about it 
sometimes. Bamfield, where I served apprentice, and has 
the only other travelling circus that counts, puts it about 
that we always open with family prayer, on horseback. 
Well, I shouldn't want to make any difference in the 
entertainment if we did." 



The evening came on which Pippin made his first appear- 
ance in the ring. During the earlier part of the enter- 
tainment he was in the tent which was joined on to the 
larger one, and lent a hand with the horses as they passed 
in and out. One by one the performers arrived, dressed 
for their parts, their private characteristics a little ob- 
scured by their costumes, and thrown off altogether as they 
passed through the curtains and faced their audience. 

They were performing in a big town. The tent was 
quite full, and the people who crowded it more than 
usually enthusiastic. Everything went to a roar of ap- 
plause, and the performers came out after their turns 
flushed with success. Each thought of himself or herself, 
and was ready to go to any labour of invention or practice 
to rise in so agreeable a calling and earn still more of those 
intoxicating plaudits. Maddock knew well enough how to 
take advantage of this spirit of encouragement and emu- 
lation. He was unsparing of words of commendation and 
pattings on the back, and came hurriedly into the tent 
time after time, when he usually stayed in the ring between 
the turns, to show to one or another that he shared the 
enthusiasm of the audience. He would lead a performer 
into the ring to receive a renewed ovation, and to many 
of his troupe that evening did he confide his conviction 
that with such abilities and more diligent endeavour they 

would go far. 




Signor Franginelli-Smithers, who always opened the 
performance, not entirely to his satisfaction, for people 
were not usually warmed up to appreciation until later, 
and the better seats not yet occupied, was warmly ap- 
plauded this evening, and took to himself a large part of 
the credit for the good humour in which the audience re- 
mained for the rest of the evening. "Give 'em a good 
lead," he said to his friend Fraddle, when he was resting 
from his labours after a hearty recall, "and you'll keep 
'em going until the end." He passed his fingers through 
his crimped and frizzled hair, and cast a glance of satis- 
faction around him, when his eyes met those of Pippin, 
who was standing by. "Unless the whole show is spoiled 
by the amateurs," he added with a scowl. 

Pippin let this go by. Nervousness was already upon 
him, and he had no mind for a contest with Smithers at 
the moment. 

Rosie Schwenk came into the tent equipped for her act. 
It was the first time Pippin had seen her so dressed since 
the first evening, and his heart gave a little jump. She 
looked every inch the lady of quality now, haughty and 
beautiful, and he could not keep his eyes off her, nor his 
admiration out of them. She met his look and turned 
away scornfully, and he experienced a sinking sensation. 
But he was a youth not temperamentally inclined to play 
the humble drooping lover, if he played the lover at all, 
and as her horse was led in, not in the quietest of moods, 
and she prepared to mount it, he went forward to give 
her a lift into the saddle. 

So did Smithers, and it was Smithers whose assistance 
she accepted, while Pippin, who had been pushed aside not 
too gently, stood by and looked on, much annoyed. But 


the horse fidgeted and sidled away, and Smithers was 
clumsy; and presently she said with an exclamation of 
impatience: "Oh, what's the good of you? Here, Glan- 
ville, let's see if you can do any better." 

But Pippin stood still with his hands behind his back. 
"You chose Smithers," he said. "You had better stick to 

Smithers cast upon him a look of concentrated rage. 
Rosie Schwenk eyed him in haughty but genuine surprise. 
She was not used to having her favours received in that 
way. But Fraddle stepped forward and made a stirrup 
of his hands. She mounted with a spring and was at 
home in the saddle at once. She gathered up her reins, 
and looked down upon Pippin with her eyes ablaze. "If 
I were Smithers I would give you a good hiding," she said. 

"So you recommended before," replied Pippin, "and I 
say again, let Smithers try." 

It looked for a moment as if Smithers would try. He 
clenched his fist, and his face beneath his absurd mop of 
hair was scarlet. But at that moment Maddock came 
bustling in calling for the Countess di Rimini, and when 
he had led her into the ring Joey, the clown, came forward 
and interfered authoritatively. He was dressed m a 
baggy suit of white calico adorned with large scarlet 
spots, he had a scarlet triangle painted over his right 
eye, and the rest of his face, except his lips and eyebrows, 
was whitened. "Oh, my young brothers," he said earn- 
estly, holding out an admonishing hand, "do not give way 
to these angry passions. Make it up now. Be friends. 
Let us live in peace." 

The contrast between his appearance and the pious 
bleat in which he spoke was almost too much for Pippin. 


He turned away to prevent himself from laughing out- 
right, and Smithers also moved away with whatever 
dignity nature had vouchsafed him. 

The clown's little daughter came up to Pippin with hei - 
satellite, Bogle, and an older sister, and offered him some 
sweets out of a bag. 

"Will Goldflake gave me these," she said* "He had 
some money and he wanted to spend all of it on sausages. 
But I told him he must not be greedy and had better spend 
half of it on sweets for me. He was quite agreeable. 
This is my sister Sophie. I have told her about you and 
she wishes to make your acquaintance." 

Pippin shook hands with Sophie, who was about a 
year older than her sister. "How do you think we look?" 
she asked. 

Both children were dressed as ladies of the French 
Court, as that dress is understood in circuses. With two 
other little girls, and four little boys attired as courtiers, 
they were about to go through a quadrille mounted on 
piebald ponies. 

"I think you look charming," said Pippin ; and indeed 
they were very pretty little girls and their quaint dresses 
suited them. 

"Sophie !" said the younger sister reproachfully. "You 
must not ask questions like that. You must remember 
that the love of fine clothes is a snare of the evil one." 
"Oh, bother !" said Sophie. 

Pippin went to array himself in the clothes he was to 
wear as Dick Turpin. He whistled gaily as he did so in 
the privacy of his van. In spite of the scorn of Rosie 
Schwenck and the hostility of Smithers, the circus was a 
delightful playground, and he was lucky to find himself in 


it* The clothes he was putting on well became him, and 
by and by he was going to do something gallant and pic- 
turesque on a fine horse before the eyes of a highly ap- 
preciative audience. 

Presently his whistling died away. Nervousness came 
upon him again. .Supposing he made a fool of himself! 
It was just as likely as not. He more than half repented 
of his audacity in taking upon himself a position for 
which nothing in his previous life had prepared him, and 
when he had finished his toilet and left his van for the 
circus tent he would have given something to be sitting 
quietly at home, or resting at an inn after a hard day's 

When he arrived at the tent he found it crowded with 
the performers and the properties for the second part of 
the entertainment. The first part had just come to an 
end. The band in the ring was playing a raucous march, 
and the audience was singing and whistling to it in high 
good humour. 

Maddock was here, there and everywhere giving direc- 
tions. "Good gracious," he exclaimed when he saw Pip- 
pin. "The show begins in ten minutes and you are not 
made up. You can't go on like that; you look like a 
yellow ghost in this light. Here, somebody who is ready 
— Smithers — make Mr. Glanville up, there's a good fel- 

But Smithers said haughtily: "Me and Mr. Glanville 
are not on speaking terms, Mr. Maddock. When an indi- 
vidual — " 

But Maddock interrupted him impatiently. "Oh, I 
haven't time to listen to your nonsense. You're the rotten- 
est performer in the show and you give yourself most airs. 



Here, Fraddle! Are you on speaking terms with Mr. 
Glanville by any chance ?" 

Fraddle, attired to represent an elderly tollgate-keeper, 
grinned all over his round good-natured face. "Come 
on/ 9 he said to Pippin. "I'll soon make you so handsome 
you won't know yourself." 

He led him to a corner of the tent where there was a 
trestle table covered with a rather dirty white cloth, a 
looking-glass behind it, and an assortment of grease sticks 
and other articles of theatrical make-up. 

"I should give him a red nose if I were you," was 
Smithers' parting shot, and Fraddle laughed as he settled 
his victim in a chair and tied a napkin round his neck. 

"Don't you take any notice of Smithers," he said con- 
fidentially. "He's a bit sore at being passed over. But 
he'll soon come round, and we shall all be drinking and 
playing cards together before you know where you are.* 

"I don't know that I want to play cards or anything 
else with Smithers," said Pippin. "I don't like him." 

"Ah, that's where you make a mistake," said Fraddle, 
taking off his powdered wig and setting vigorously to 
work on his forehead with a stick of grease paint. "You 
should try to like everybody. You'll get on much better." 

Pippin being reduced to silence by the liberties that 
were being taken with his face, Fraddle proceeded to de- 
velop his proposition as he worked. "Take my case," he 
said. "I like everybody. Can't help it. Sometimes I try 
to dislike a fellow — at least I used to — just for a change, 
you know. But, bless you, it's no use. When I think 
I've worked myself up to give him a bat over the bonnet 
if he sc much as looks my way, there's a something in him 
gets over me. Perhaps it's something he says, or the way 


he says it, or a look in his eye, or the way he takes some- 
thing, and I can no more help liking that fellow than I 
can — well, I'm like that. I'm all water. I thought I 
didn't like you much when Smithers came in and said you 
had pouched his job; but I feel now as if I could stand 
you drinks for the rest of my life, if I had the money. 
Whether it's your freckles, or the way your hair's cut, 
or the way your ears stick out, I don't know. But there 
it is." 

During a free moment Pippin managed to murmur his 
acknowledgments of this gratifying state of feeling. 

"It's a gift," continued Fraddle, setting to work again. 
"After all, it's a gift. Look at my history! Son of a 
bricklayer — that's what I am, and never tried to hide it. 
And here I am — a gentleman, or as good as, if you don't 
look too close. Why? Because I always liked everybody 
from the beginning of the chapter. I'm no good, you 
know. Never no good at anything; I won't deceive you. 
At school, bottom of the class. Always. Couldrtt learn. 
But liked? Oh, bless you, yes — much more than the 
sharper ones. Why? Because I liked him — the master, 
you know. Couldn't help it, though the rest of 'em said 
he was a beast. So he was; but there was a something 
about him. Taken away from school at thirteen and sent 
to work in a baker's shop. Bread? Lor! the pigs 
wouldn't eat it. But when I was sacked he said he'd have 
adopted me if he hadn't had eleven children of his own — 
the baker, I mean. I loved that man, and showed it. 
Couldn't help it. And he swore at me proper too. Page 
boy to an old lady after that. Temper! Well, I was 
only there a month, but I'd been there longer than any of 
'em when she sacked me. She had to, or she wouldn't have 


had a plate left to eat off. I was one of the smashers, 
you know ; no good at domestic service. But she said she 
was sorry to lose me all the same. Then I took on here. 
Saw Maddock poaching birds' eggs and helped him for a 
whole day. Adored the man before the end of it, and he 
couldn't get rid of me. Been here ever since. Well, there 
you are, young Turpin. I must say you do look a tip- 
topper. Handsomer than poor Brown by a long chalk, 
and there was a nice fellow if you like." 

With powdered wig, blackened eyebrows, and brown 
and red paint hiding his freckles, Pippin's appearance was 
completely altered, and he stood up in his green riding- 
dress, with the ruffles at his neck and wrists, as handsome 
a young man as ever rode the ring. He looked at him- 
self in the glass and was absurdly pleased, and walked out 
to fetch Black Bess with a healthy swagger. 

As he led the mare into the tent the women and girls 
of the circus looked at him with admiration, all except 
Rosie Schwenck, who turned away her head. Maddock, in 
his Sheriff's costume, looked him up and down. "You'll 
do very well," he said. 

Then the play began. Pippin mounted the mare and 
waited for his cue, his heart in his high boots. The mare 
grew restless, curveting all about the tent, and as he was 
trying to calm her his call came. He galloped into the 
ring, his blood warmed. It was a blaze of hot light, with 
hundreds of faces tier on tier all around it; and then a 
storm of shouting and cheering and clapping broke out 
and continued for a long time. Pippin had no reason to 
complain of his first reception. 

He went through his part, the spoken word as well as 
the action, far better than he could have anticipated, and 


was constantly applauded. The applause indeed went a 
little to his head, and it was like wine to him to catch a 
gleam of admiration in the eyes of Roeie Schwenck, whom 
as a lady of fashion travelling by coach he treated with 
ornate forbearance, while yet his avocation impelled him 
to rob her of all the valuables she carried. But he re- 
turned them to her, and handed her back into the coach 
with an elaborate flourish, which in his exaltation of spirit 
was a trifle over-acted, and caused her lip to curl. And 
unfortunately his spur caught in her velvet train, which 
gave her the opportunity of fixing him with a low-spoken 
opprobrious epithet during the progress of disentangle- 
ment. To the eyes of the onlookers, all was courtesy 
and high-breeding on both sides, but if their ears had 
heard the exquisite lady of quality mutter, "Clumsy lout l" 
to the gallant highwayman, they might have wondered 
that he did not then and there relieve her of the trinkets 
which he had so generously restored to her. 

When Pippin and his horse, and the coach with its load 
of despoiled passengers, were outside the ring and the 
tent, he went up to Rosie Schwenck and looking her square 
in the face said: "I am very sorry for that accident, and 
will be more careful another time." His impulse to show 
resentment of her rudeness had passed, and as he was 
ready to ignore it she could not very well do otherwise; 
for that would have been to allow in him a courtesy which 
was not in her, and to disclaim the gentility which she 
aped before the public, some proportion of which she 
also affected in private life. 

She turned from him, as it seemed, in some confusion, 
but without saying anything. Smithers, however, who 
was burning with resentment at having to take the craven 



part of the lady's husband, and cry on his knees for mercy 
from the highwayman, instead of ruffling it as the high- 
wayman himself, said with much truculence that he sup- 
posed Pippin thought himself a mighty fine fellow, adding 
that he himself thought the contrary, and that he had 
reason to know that Miss Schwenck was of his opinion. 
"When an individual pushes himself in where he isn't 
wanted," said Smithers in high scorn and with intense 
meaning, "he had better look out for himself, or he'll find 
himself in trouble." 

Smithers turned his back and went off to array himself 
for the sheriff's dinner party, and Pippin understood, 
what he had already suspected, that Smithers was in much 
the same state as himself in his feelings towards Rosie 
Schwenk, and perhaps with more to go upon in the way 
of memories, since he had known her for a long time and 
Pippin knew her scarcely at all. 

Well, if it were only to get the better of a rival, there 
was little to daunt him, but something rather to spur him 
on. But he did not feel quite comfortable about Smithers. 
With the quick generosity of his youth he was ready to 
admit to the full that the acute annoyance shown by the 
young man was justified. He had come in to dispossess 
him just as he was on the brink of glory, and if Smithers 
counted upon the high part he was to have played to ad- 
vance him with Rosie Schwenk, then his irritation must 
have been greater even than his expression of it. 

Pippin took supper that evening with Maddock, who 
congratulated him upon his performance, and told him 
that he considered himself fortunate in having him to fill 
Brown's place. "I don't look to you," he said, "to stay 
with me for ever, for although I suppose you come from 


much the same sort of home as poor Brown, there is not 
the same reason with you as with him for keeping away 
from it, and you will want to be going back some day. 
But if you will stay for the summer, and give me time to 
look about for a horseman as good as you or Brown, it 
will be to my advantage and I will make it to yours. Now 
that I have seen you in the ring I am ready to pay you 
the same as I paid Brown, but I suppose that the payment 
will be less to you than the opportunity for a. pleasant 
sort of roving life ; and that you will have for as long as 
you like to stay with me." 

This was handsomely said, and Pippin thanked him, 
but said that he had understood that Smithers was to have 
taken Brown's place if it had not been given to him, and 
expressed something of his regret at having ousted him. 

"You needn't worry yourself about that," said Mad- 
dock unconcernedly. "Smithers understudied Brown, as 
he will understudy you, but I have never told him that he 
was to play Turpin permanently. Smithers thinks him- 
self a horseman, but he is only a circus-rider, which is a 
very different thing, and he is not even a very good circus- 
rider. Smithers may think himself lucky in being kept on 
in my circus at all, and getting the pay he does. If you 
have any nonsense from Smithers, tell me, and I will put 
him in his place." 

Pippin was not quite satisfied with this. "I can fight 
my own battles," he said ; "but haven't you allowed Smith- 
ers to think that he was to step into Brown's place?" 

"Perhaps I have," said Maddock, as unconcernedly as 
before. "There is no sense in upsetting people if you 
want to make use of them. If you hadn't come on the 
scene just at the right moment, Smithers would have 


played the part of Turpin until I could have got some- 
body more suitable; and I should have lost no time in 
doing so. Smithers has nothing to grumble at whatever." 

Pippin went to sleep that night with his head buzzing, 
and not with the wine he had been given at supper, of 
which Maddock had drunk the larger share. The lights 
were in his eyes again, the hot scents of the tent and the 
sawdust in his nostrils, and the roar of applause in his 
ears. He saw himself sitting on his fine horse, taking his 
great leaps, making his gallant speeches. He saw the 
kind eyes of the woman fixed on him, the center of all ad- 
miration. All night long in his dreams he went over his 
performance, and awoke in the morning looking forward 
to its repetition with the keenest pleasure. 

Well, it was worth while to have left his home for this. 



In his pleasure at having made such a success of his part, 
Pippin was all the more inclined to forgive Smithers for 
the ill-feeling he nourished towards him. He was rather 
an absurd creature, and it would be easy enough to get 
the better of him. But to get the better of him was not 
likely to bring much satisfaction with it; it would be 
better to win him over, and do him a good turn. This 
was within Pippin's power. At this early stage he was 
much under the glamour of his occupation ; but he did not 
propose to keep at it forever, and when the time came 
for him to leave it would heal all soreness if Smithers took 
his place. 

He sought out the good-natured Praddle. "I think it 
is rather hard on Smithers that I have been taken on as 
Dick Turpin instead of him," he said. "It is natural 
that he should be annoyed with me; but I wish him no 
harm, and would rather be friends with him than enemies." 

Fraddle beamed all over. "That's what I like to hear,"' 
he said. "You're a man after my own heart ; I knew it as 
soon as I set eyes on you. Smithers won't hold out 
against you. Now I'll tell you what we will do. We'll 
go down to the 'Fiddle and Pipe' and have a glass to- 
gether. When we come out of it we shall be like three 

"Very well," said Pippin. "But you must let me pay 

for the entertainment. Go and find Smithers and tell him 



I want to be friends with him. There's no need to make 
a scene about it. We'll just go and sit together for a bit, 
and forget all about what has happened." 

But simply to ignore what had passed did not comply 
with Smithers' histrionic inclinations. He came forward 
with the smiling Fraddle, wearing an air of high dignity 
and solemnity, and took off his cap to Pippin. "My 
friend here informs me," he said, "that certain things 
that have passed between us are — are — that you wish they 
hadn't passed. When an individual takes that line with 
Alfred Smithers, Alfred Smithers would not be the man 
he is if — if — " 

"Oh, come along," said Pippin. "We're going to have 
a drink and a talk together. I have something to propose 
to you." 

Fraddle took his arm and led him off. He was inclined 
to offence at having had his speech cut short, but his of- 
fence was mixed with relief at not having to carry it on on 
a note as high as his desire, and when he found himself 
seated in the cosy parlour of the inn with a tankard in 
front of him he allowed himself to relax into amiability. 
Pippin was obviously of a higher social grade than him- 
self or Fraddle, and his move towards friendship flattered 
Smithers, always doubtful about himself in spite of his 
vanity, and setting great store by any degree of gentility. 

"I've told Fraddle," said Pippin, "that I see now it was 
hard on you not to be allowed to take Brown's place. 
I ought to have known, when Maddock offered it to me, 
that there must have been somebody else disappointed of 
it. But I didn't think of that. However, I have thought 
of it now, and what I want to tell you is that I shan't be 
going with this circus for more than a few months at the 


outside, and I'll do all I can to get Maddock to give you 
the part of Dick Turpin when I leave." 

"Now I call that very handsome," said Fraddle. 
"What did I tell you, Smithers? This is a lad you may 
well rely on." 

"Well, I don't deny that it's kindly thought of," said 
Smithers. "But when Glanville leaves us I shall take the 
part anyhow. Maddock wouldn't dare pass me over a 
second time. Maddock is an individual who wants watch- 
ing, but he knows he can't go too far. Alfred Smithers 
can put up with a good deal, and Maddock knows it and 
takes advantage of it. But he also knows that if he tries 
it on beyond reason he'll have Alfred Smithers to deal 

He looked very fierce and proud, and Fraddle said: 
"Yes, no doubt it's true that the part will be yours when 
Granville leaves. Still I maintain that it's like the man 
he is to think about it." 

Pippin saw that he must tell them everything. "I 
shouldn't have made the offer I have," he said, "if you 
were going to step into the part with no trouble taken 
about it. But Maddock has no intention of giving it 
to you permanently, and never had." Then he told them 
what Maddock had said on the subject. 

Smithers expressed his sense of outrage in no measured 
terms, and made threats against Maddock which he might 
have carried out if he had been an unlimited monarch and 
Maddock one of his minions, but hardly under existing 
circumstances. Then he suddenly passed into a plaintive 
state, and asked what reason Maddock Had given for 
treating him in that way. 

"Well, he says you can't ride well enough," said Pippin. 


Smithers' indignation renewed itself at this statement, 
and Fraddle murmured that that really was going a little 
too far. 

"You heard how I was clapped and cheered only last 
night," said Smithers. "I don't believe there's a man in 
the country can turn somersaults off a platform on a mov- 
ing horse better than I can, and I'll say that to Mad- 
dock's face and dare him to contradict me." 

"Perhaps he wouldn't," said Pippin* "Maddock says 
you're a good circus-rider, but you're no horseman. 5 ' 

Smithers descended into the depths again. "It's true," 
he said, in a tone of resignation. "But I didn't know 
Maddock had noticed it. I can stand on a horse going 
round in a ring, if he doesn't go too fast, and nobody can 
say I'm not graceful when I do it. But when I'm sitting 
in a saddle it's a different thing. There's no grace about 
me. Oh, I know it well, and if Maddock knows it them 
I may as well give him notice before he gives it me." 

"I don't think so," said Pippin. "You have played the 
part on occasions, and you have done what was wanted. 
Black Bess is a beauty to jump, but it takes some pluck 
to go over some of those fences, and you have done that 
and are ready to do it again." 

"Oh, nobody can say I haven't got the pluck," said 
Smithers, picking up again. "Even Maddock wouldn't 
say that. I should like to hear him if he did. He 
wouldn't say it twice to my face." 

"Very well, then," said Pippin. "All you want is a 
little horsemanship, and that's easily learned if you like 
horses and put your mind into it. Now I was brought 
up among horses. I believe I rode before I could walk, 
and I've been riding all sorts ever since. I can give you 


a hint or two, and shall be glad to do it. It was what was 
in my mind when I made the offer. Let's go out together, 
and I'll teach you what I can. When the time comes 
you'll surprise Maddock by what you can do. It's not 
much that's wanted. You're a far better actor than I 
am, and you'll look the part all right." 

Smithers gracefully disclaimed superiority in acting, 
but it was evident that he thought Pippin's tribute de- 
served. "I can't help throwing myself into a part," he 
said. "When I get before an audience it's like as if I was 
outside myself. I suppose it's what they call genius." 

"That's what it is," said Fraddle encouragingly. "I 
haven't got it myself, but I know it when I see it. Well, 
it's a great thing that you two are friends now. That's 
what makes me happy, to see everybody friends together. 
Here's a health to both of you. I've known you, Smith- 
ers, for some years, and a better fellow never stepped, and 
I may say the same of Glanville, though I've only known 
him a few days." 

Pippin and Smithers went out riding together early in 
the mornings, unknown to Maddock, who would have ob- 
jected to having his horses taken out in that way. Smith- 
ers sat in his saddle like a sack, and by the side of Pippin, 
who was all ease and alertness, looked like a tripper on a 
hired nag. But his adaptability enabled him to take ad- 
vantage of the instruction offered him. He had no hands 
for a horse, and his seat was never the same two minutes 
running; but somehow he managed to imitate good horse- 
manship for the short bursts of action which were all 
that was necessary in the ring. It was true that he was 
an actor born, though his light composition made his art 
a small thing. Pippin was surprised to find out what he 


could do, after learning by experience what he couldn't 
be taught to do. After a week or two he made an ex- 
cuse of some light ailment, which he exaggerated on pur- 
pose, to give Smithers the opportunity of playing his 
part. Maddock grumbled hugely, and for the first time 
showed Pippin the disagreeable side of him. But after 
the performance it was as if he had no such side. He 
said that Smithers had done better than he had expected, 
and that when the time came he should probably give him 
the part, and look out for another man to deal with his 
horses for him. 

When Smithers was told this he assumed at once an air 
of high self-confidence, and said that it was well for Mad- 
dock that he had come to his senses, hinting that he would 
greatly have rued it if he had not. 

Pippin smiled at him. "I suppose I have had nothing 
to do with it," he said. 

Smithers, still in the exaltation of success, looked sur- 
prise at him, and then descended from his pedestal. Tears 
of emotion came into his eyes, he grasped Pippin's hand, 
and said fervently : "You are the best friend I ever had." 

The story of what Pippin had done for Smithers got 
about among the people of the circus, and he was given 
much credit for it. They all liked him, except Schwenck, 
the lion-tamer, and apparently his daughter, Rosie, 
neither of whom would have anything to do with him, 
and possibly Joey, the clown, who may have suspected 
him of making light of his religious pretensions. He had 
a pleasant friendly way with everybody, and, being less 
occupied than most, often lent a hand of help to others. 

This was a little world of its own in which he made 
himself at home, and one in which there was as much 


variety of character and temperament as in any other. 
Vanity and jealousy were rife in it, but there were many 
who were free from either fault, and there was much 
kindness among these people of show and tinsel. Mad- 
dock's boast of a good moral tone among his people had 
something to justify it, but its centre was not in him, 
though he encouraged it and made some capital out of 
it. Neither was it in Joey the Converted Clown. Chap- 
lain Joey, he liked to hear himself called, and would have 
it that he was doing a great work among the people of 
the circus. But he was treated with indulgence as an 
eccentric rather than looked up to, and had scarcely any 
followers outside his own family. There was as much 
self-approbation in his preachings as in the posturings 
of Smithers under his style of the Signor Franginelli. 
He showed an ugly spiteful temper if anything happened 
to cross him, and it had been noticed that this weakness 
was not one of those which he so fervently confessed in 

It was his cheerful little wife, who looked up to him 
as a good and wise man, and suffered his disagreeable 
way without complaining, to whom the well-being of his 
state was due. She took no part in the play of the 
circus, except to appear now and then as a super, but 
was as busy with, her children and her domestic duties 
as if she lived in a house anchored to the ground instead 
of one drawn on wheels. Her caravan was a model of 
shining neatness, and her children not less so. When she 
had finished her work inside she would sit on the steps 
or in a chair on the grass busy with her needle, and 
Pippin would sometimes sit and talk to her, or play with 
the children, who all loved him. 


Perhaps his chief friend in the circus was the little 
girl who had made herself champion of the poor creature 
they called Bogle. She was always lying in wait for 
him, and was never happier than when she was in his 
company, chattering away to him upon every subject 
that came into her head. It was a beautiful little char- 
acter that she revealed. She would have mothered all 
the world. The greatest treat he could give her was 
to ask her to do something for him. He was her hero. 
She would sew on a button for him as if it were a re- 
ligious ceremony, but she would also direct him in the 
way he should go, and rebuke him if she did not approve 
of anything that he did or said. 

One morning she came to him and said: "Will Gold- 
flake ought to have a new suit of clothes. He isn't fit 
to be seen. But he hasn't got any money to buy them. 
Pm always telling him that he ought to save some up, 
but he spends it all on food. He doesn't really under- 
stand about saving money, and he's always hungry; so 
I can't be very angry with him." 

The last sentence was spoken in a confidential whisper, 
for Bogle was grinning and muttering at her side, and 
it was a principle with her not to admit before him 
that he was deficient in understanding. 

"Well, he certainly does look as if he wants a new 
rig-out," said Pippin. "What are you going to do about 

"I'm going to take up a collection," she said. "Would 
you like to put something in?" 

She was carrying a plate, which she held out to him, 
and he made his contribution, at which she was very 


"That will make a lovely start," she said. "Father 
often puts half-a-crown into the plate to start a collec- 
tion, because it makes other people give more. But I 
know you won't want to take yours back. Would you 
like to come round with us?" 

Pippin said that he would, and they took the vans 
and tents in order. It was in the quiet time after the 
mid-day meal, and most of their occupants were in or 
about them. 

The old wardrobe woman was the first to whom ap- 
plication was made. She was already busy with her 
needle, while her granddaughter the Fairy Rosebud, was 
tidying up, but smiled when she saw Pippin approaching 
and left off to hear what they had come for. 

"Lor*, dearie!" said the old woman. "I might spare 
a copper or two, but you want more than coppers to buy 
a suit of clothes." 

"If you give according to your ability it will find 
acceptation," said the child solemnly, and thetFairy Rose- 
bud laughed. "Isn't she a funny little thing?" she said 
aside to Pippin. "She's always talking like old Joey 
when he's in the pulpit. Why don't you ask Mr. Mad- 
dock or Mr. Schwenck, Lizzie? They ought to find Bogle 
in clothes." 

"Will Goldflake and I would rather go to our f riends," 
said Lizzie. "Will you be a cheerful giver?" 

She held out the plate, and Pippin laughed and said: 
"There! you'll have to subscribe now." So the Fairy 
Rosebud found some coppers and her grandmother a six- 
pence, and they went their way. 

Smithers and Fraddle and half a dozen other young 
men with whom they messed were smoking outside their 


tent, and made their customary jokes at the appearance 
of the child and her protege, which she received without 
smiling. "You can all look after yourselves," she said, 
"and you have plenty of money to spend upon smoking 
and drinking and playing cards and other wickedness. 
But Will Goldflake can't look after himself as well as 
you can, because he has a slight impediment in his speech. 
So you ought to be kind to him and help him." 

"Hark at that now!" said the tender-hearted Fraddle. 
"Give me a kiss, Lizzie, and 111 give you a whole shilling." 

"I don't like kissing people who smell of beer," said 
the child, but she held up her little face and Fraddle 
kissed her and rang his shilling in the plate. Smithers 
followed with two, for he liked to play the grand, as his 
companions expressed it. One of the other young men 
confessed himself broke, but another said that it was 
he who had won money from him at cards and would 
pay for both. 

"But Lizzie don't approve of playing cards," said 

"Father says they are the devil's picture book," she 
said. "But if you are wicked enough to play for money 
it is better that you should give it away in kindness than 
spend it on iniquity." 

"Preach us a sermon like your Dad, Lizzie," said one, 
"and we'll make it up to more." 

But she wouldn't do that. "You are scoffers at holy 
things," she said. "But perhaps you will be forgiven, 
as you haven't turned away from the poor and needy. 
Come along, Will Goldflake. You are not to drink their 
beer. It is very wicked of them to tempt you." 

Poor Bogle followed her, protesting in his indistin- 


guishable speech. "I know he drinks beer when I'm not 
there to look after him," she confided to Pippin. "But 
in time I shall wean him of it. He wouldn't do it at all 
if they didn't offer it to him, and once they tried to make 
him drunk. It's a dreadful thing to think that they are 
all going to hell." 

"It is a dreadful thing to say a thing like that," said 
Pippin, indignant not with her but with the teaching 
that could put such words into the mouth of a child. 

"But it is true," she said seriously, "unless they find 
salvation; but nearly all of them refuse to embrace their 

"Do you think I am going to hell?" 

She did not hesitate, and gave the same reply, but 
added: "You have been very kind to me and Will Gold- 
flake, and I love you very much and pray for you every 
night and morning." 

"That is better than talking about people going to 
hell," said Pippin. "You wouldn't hurt anybody you 
loved, would you?" 

"No, of course not," she said. 

"Very well then. You believe that God loves us, and 
yet you think he is going to hurt a great many people 
for ever and ever. It isn't true, you know, whoever told 
you so." 

But she wouldn't have it, and Pippin did not want to 
draw upon himself the displeasure of her father for un- 
settling her in the doctrines in which she had been brought 
up. He saw that they were mere words to her, and 
that the sweetness and goodness of her nature were 
the best antidotes to such beliefs. "If you go on being 
kind and good," he said, "you can believe what you like.'* 


But she wouldn't have that either, so he left the sub- 

The Polder Troupe of Acrobats was practising in the 
ring, where some others of the circus people were also 
employed getting ready for the evening's entertainment. 

It was the Polder family to whom Maddock's circus 
chiefly owed its exceptional reputation. Polder and his 
wife had both been born to the kind of life they led, 
and wanted no other either for themselves or their chil- 
dren. They were none of them without the love of 
public display, but their performance depended upon 
bodies wrought and kept up to a high pitch of perfec- 
tion, and their minds were directed towards that end. 
The acrobat followed a more rigid rule of life than the 
clown, whose pretensions he treated with contempt. He 
was an ascetic, neither smoked nor drank, ate sparingly, 
kept to hours of the most regular, and practised his 
muscles continually. His two sons followed him in all 
these things and were proud of doing so. They exercised 
self-discipline for the sake of growing like him, whom 
they loved and admired, and the outlook into the future 
of either of them was to become the leader of a troupe 
of acrobats, as he was. But the bodily training to which 
their youth had been subjected bore that and still finer 
fruit; for after many years came the great war. By 
that time they were both past the age of service, but 
volunteered and were accepted because of their virility, 
fought on the side of right, and died. 

Now young men will treat with respect above all others 
those who are skilled in the use of their bodies. Their 
assumptions of superiority are accepted where the as- 
sumptions of others are scorned. Polder and his sons 


thought highly of themselves, and the young men of 
the circus looked up to them. They set a tone of absti- 
nence which if it was not implicitly followed was respected. 
To follow the devious ways of self-indulgent youth, with 
plenty of opportunity for mischief, and no principle be- 
hind but enjoyment of the present, was, in Maddock's 
circus, to earn the contempt of those whose opinions were 
of value. Polder was a man of few words, but his ap- 
proval or disapproval found its expression. He approved 
of Pippin for his clean limbs and his clean life, and 
welcomed his company, though it must be confessed that 
lie gave little in return for it. For he knew little of life, 
and his obsession of bodily perfection mastered him. 

The Polders were just finishing their practice as the 
child entered the great tent with her following. Polder's 
ideas worked slowly, and he wanted full explanation of 
Lizzie's scheme before he could make up his mind what 
to do about it. He eyed the prospective recipient of char- 
ity with no great favour, for he was loose and shambling, 
and Polder could have forgiven him his lack of brains 
but could not forgive him that. "Why doesn't he exercise 
himself with dumb-bells ?" he asked. "That would make 
more of a man of him, and he wouldn't have to go round 

But Mrs. Polder had had a word with Pippin, whom 
she much liked. "Oh, Lizzie is collecting for a present 
for him, father," she said. "That's a good girl, dear! 
Yes, we'll all give you something, and if you give up 
the names put it down to the Troupe. You won't want 
to be behindhand with the rest, father, and perhaps it 
will shame Maddock into doing something more than he 
does for the poor afflicted creature." 


From these mixed motives a substantial addition to 
Lizzie's collection presently accrued. Money was also 
collected from the men at work in the tent, who treated 
the matter with rough jocularity, but were kind to the 

When they had left the tent, she said : "Now, Will Gold- 
flake, I shan't want you any more for the present;" and 
when he had shambled off she said to Pippin : "I am going 
to Mr. Schwenck's van, and Will Goldflake doesn't like 
Mr. Schwenck." 

"But I thought you weren't going to apply to him 
or Mr. Maddock," said Pippin. 

"I shan't ask Mr. Schwenck," she said, "because he was 
very unkind to Will Goldflake, and he can't abide him. 
But I shall ask Rosie." 

Pippin was not unmoved at the prospect of this inter- 
view. Rosie Schwenck had never ceased to treat him as 
if he were an offence upon the face of the earth, and 
Schwenck's van was the only one of them all that he had 
never entered. But her scorn of him had only added fuel 
to the flame she had lit in him. He was very deeply 
in love with her. He had managed to conceal his wounds, 
but they were heavy upon him, and beginning to spoil 
the life he would otherwise have enjoyed. The image of 
Rosie Schwenck was seldom out of his head now. 

Herr Schwenck could be heard snoring inside his van. 
Rosie was washing plates outside. She dressed more 
carefully than most women of the circus, who affected 
curl-papers and wore somewhat slatternly clothes when 
not resplendently attired for the ring, or for their out- 
ings. Herr Schwenck claimed superiority of birth and 
education over the rest, and his daughter, though she 


made no such claims and was friendly wherever it suited 
her to be so, gave some countenance to them. Pippin's 
heart contracted as he saw her neat and trim, with her 
sleeves rolled up over her dimpled elbows, engaged on 
her domestic task. But he put on an air of more than 
usual unconcern as they approached. It was a constant 
duel between these two, and if he was always looking for 
signs of relentment in her, which he would eagerly have 
met, he would not appear to be pleading for them. 

Rosie looked up at them, and went on with her wash- 
ing of dishes. There was a gleam in her eye and a slightly 
heightened colour in her fresh cheek. The child made 
her request, and held out her plate, upon which was now 
a pile of silver and copper coins, and one gold one, 
jointly subscribed by the Polder family. 

"I should have thought Captain Glanville might have 
given Bogle one of his spare suits," said Rosie, not look- 
ing at Pippin. She always called him "Captain Glan- 
ville," with an inflexion of contempt on the "Captain," 
whenever she had occasion to refer to him in his hearing. 

He was inured to this. "Captain Glanville," he said, 
imitating the inflexion, "hasn't any spare suits." 

"Oh, indeed!" she said. "For a country gentleman of 
property that seems rather odd. But I should have 
thought you might have asked your friend Maddock, 
instead of begging of people so much below your quality. 
Maddock would do anything for you, wouldn't he?" 

The child intervened. "We are not going to ask Mr* 
Maddock or Mr. Schwenck," she said. "It is going to 
be a present from Will Goldflake's friends. You have 
always been kind to Will Goldflake, Rosie, so I thought 
you wouldn't like to be left out." 


"No more I shouldn't, dear," said Rosie, and went into 
the caravan. 

"I knew she would. She is really very kind," said the 

This tribute moved Pippin, who was quite ready to 
attribute kindness to her, and hoped that some day she 
would show some of it to him. 

She came out and added to the pile of coins five 
shillings, which the child received with ardent expressions 
of gratitude. "You were quite right in what you said, 
Lizzie/' said Pippin. 

"What was that?" asked Rosie, and when she had been 
told tossed her head and said to Pippin: "I am what 
I was before you came here, and shall be the same when 
you have gone." So Pippin gained little advantage from 
his tentative approach; but the thought of her kindness 
remained with him, and made him long for her the more. 

Joey, the clown, was sitting outside his van when they 
returned to it, reading in his Bible, which he liked to do 
so that he could be seen of men. His face darkened 
when he had enquired of the child's errand. He did not 
like her attachment to the simpleton, and she had collected 
more money than he was ever able to do from the people 
of the circus. 

"Never do a thing like that again without asking me 
first," he said severely. "It isn't right to take collections 
for anything but the service of the tabernacle. Take it 
in, and I will see what is to be done with it." 

"It is already settled what is to be done with it," said 
Pippin going off; and the clown looked after him with 
no pleasant expression. 



Hebe Schwenck, the lion-tamer, had been turned from 
the utmost of his rancour against Pippin, but had never 
forgiven him his offence, for he addressed no word to him, 
and scowled whenever chance brought him in his way. 
This attitude would not have caused Pippin any incon- 
venience, if it had been a question of Schwenck alone, for 
he kept himself aloof from the rest of the company, few 
of whom had any sort of liking for him. But it was 
also the attitude of his daughter, and that was a very 
different affair. 

Rosie Schwenck was liked well enough, though the 
younger women were jealous of her good looks, and were 
severe upon the way she had the men running after her. 
She would give each and all of her admirers encourage- 
ment from time to time, but if they sought to draw profit 
from it would turn her back upon them. Only to Pippin, 
out of all of them, she seemed to give no encouragement, 
and would never hear his name mentioned without express- 
ing her scorn for him. He was a country bumpkin, in 
spite of his high opinion of himself; a beggar on horse- 
back ; a flatterer of Maddock for his own advantage. For 
her part she could not tell what the other young men 
of the circus saw in him to make them put up with his 
airs. There was not one of them who was not more of 
a man than he. 

The young men of the circus were not unmoved by the 



severity of her strictures, and set up no opposition to 
them when in her company; but the women laughed at 
her and said that she would not speak in that way if 
her opinion of Pippin were not the opposite to what 
she proclaimed. At this she tossed her head, and asked 
whether she was ever to be seen talking to him. But 
after that she did not criticize him again before the 

As for Pippin he was as deep in love with her as a 
generous-minded young man can be under the influence 
of his first passion, to which he gives himself over with 
no thought of what lies in front or on either side of it, 
living in a world of strong, emotion which colours the 
smallest happening of his days. Whether he would have 
been so soon and so entirely subjugated if she had shown 
herself to him from the first for what she actually was 
— a young woman of very ordinary mind with a very 
pretty face — may be doubted. She would have nothing 
to do with him at all, so he endued her in the fervency 
of his mind with perfections far beyond her compass, and 
yearned for a word or a look of kindness from her with 
almost intolerable longing. She gave him that much 
from time to time, but no more, and it was enough to 
keep him at her feet, though he affected to treat her 
misliking of him with indifference, and was so far success- 
ful in his pretending that no one suspected his real feel- 

He was too unskilled to draw encouragement from the 
scorn with which she treated him. He had offended her 
father and did not see that that was no reason for it. 
What he hoped was that he would presently wear down 
that offence, and the occasional signs from her that he 


might be doing so were all that he needed to keep his 
passion ablaze. Yet he sometimes raged against her, and 
told himself that he would break away altogether, from 
the circus and from her. 

There came a time when her apparent dislike for him 
seemed to be melting. She addressed him when she was 
obliged to do so with ordinary courtesy, and once or 
twice she laughed with him in conversation with others, 
looking into his face as if there was community of spirit 
between them. How kind and sweet she was, under all 
the perversity of her behaviour! These were the true 
flowers of her nature, now at last unfolding to him. He 
adored her more than ever, and one night upon handing 
her back into the coach, as Dick Turpin, he ventured 
on a pressure of the hand. It was returned, ever so 
slightly, and he was in a heaven of bliss. The next morn- 
ing he lay in wait for her, and when she appeared boldly 
proposed that she should walk with him to the town upon 
the outskirts of which the circus was encamped. 

She stared at him with haughty amazement, and then 
broke out angrily against him. "Why will you always 
be annoying me with your attentions when it is plain that 
I don't want them?" she cried. "I have had enough 
of it, and if you don't leave me alone I shall complain 
to Mr. Maddock." 

Her eyes flashed, and she stamped her foot, before 
turning her back upon him abruptly and walking off. 
There could be no doubt of her genuine anger, which 
wiped out completely all the signs of favour upon which 
he had fed himself during the days that had passed. It 
made an offence of the pressure of the hand which had 
so moved him the night before. His anger rose in turn. 


This was the end, then. For the sake of his manhood 
he would no longer follow after a woman who treated 
him in that fashion. 

This decision was made in the heat of the moment. 
He was very determined upon it, but some inner voice 
warned him that the carrying out of it would only be 
possible if he cut himself loose from the circus. 

For this he was now quite ready. The glamour of his 
nightly appearances had departed sooner than he would 
have thought possible. He was not of the stuff of which 
performers are made. Smithers would have been a lost 
man without his nightly due of applause, and into every 
part that he played, though it were not a part that could 
gain him admiration and he was a player of no genius, 
he put his meagre soul, and wrapped himself round as 
with a cloak of romance. Pippin was tired of the work 
he was doing. He was earning money by it, but it was 
not the good work having to do with the land and its 
produce to which his life had hitherto tended and to 
which he would presently return. There was no satisfac- 
tion in it as work, and little any longer as pleasure. And 
he was with the same people day after day. Though 
they moved on from town to town, their lives were as 
settled as if they stayed always in the same place. Even 
the life of the road lacked adventure, with the long trail- 
ing caravan moving along it at a snail's pace, and all 
the peace of the country spoilt by it. He had not left 
his home for this. If it had not been for Rosie Schwenck 
he might have tired of it sooner. Now that he had made 
up his mind to have done with her he found that he was 
very tired of it. He would strike away as soon as he 
could settle affairs with Maddock. 


He was also rather tired of Maddock, and his hobby, 
which was creditable to him as a man who might have 
devoted his leisure and his opportunities to pursuits less 
innocent than the collection of birds' eggs and birds 9 nests, 
but for Pippin meant only a return to the play of his 
youth. For he had no more than the born countryman's 
knowledge of the demonstrations of nature with which he 
had always been familiar, or pleasure in them, while to 
Maddock they brought something of a scientific interest. 
With a chosen companion their roamings afield would have 
served as well as any other occasion for a day of pleasure ; 
but there was no essential community between the young 
man, driven by the spirit of his youth, and the much older 
man, who had got rid of all but secondary desires because 
he did not wish his life to be disturbed out of its contented 

When he had made this decision his spirit suddenly 
lightened, but immediately drooped again as he imagined 
himself removed from Rosie Schwenck, whom it was 
unlikely that he would ever meet again. 

He was walking in a wood near where the circus was 
encamped. It was Sunday afternoon. Maddock had 
invited him to an expedition with him, but he had refused, 
hoping when he did so for companionship which would 
please him better than Maddock's. He was very unhappy, 
and sat down on a fallen tree trunk to condole with him- 

The spring had marched on apace since Pippin had 
left home. Nature had laid a brighter carpet in the 
woods, having discarded her earlier primrose drugget. 
The wild hyacinths were as blue as the ceiling of the 
sky; wood anemones danced in delicate arabesque; the 


rose campion blushed and glowed in shady corners. And 
from every brake and thicket came the music of the happy 
birds. Pippin heard them without hearing them, and the 
fresh beauty of nature all around him had no power to 
arouse him from the dejection that sat heavily upon him. 

He was sitting by a grassy path on the edge of the 
wood. The path by which he had come there was hidden 
by a thick growth of yew, and he was startled by the 
sound of a twig broken upon it, for he had thought him- 
self quite alone, and was not sure that he had not groaned 
the moment before, in the hearing of whoever might be 

It was Rosie Schwenck who came upon him as he started 
to his feet, and they stood in the path confronting each 
other, she apparently as surprised at the meeting as he 
was, though she might well have seen him starting on his 
lonely walk, and it was not her custom to take her own 
walks in loneliness. But if she had followed him he had 
no idea of it, and she could hardly have expected to come 
upon him with that suddenness. 

His mind was full of resentful thoughts of her, and 
they found immediate vent as she stood there before 
him. "Oh, it's you!" he said, with no great courtesy. 
"Let me tell you, now this opportunity has come, that 
you will not be worried with my attentions much longer. 
I am leaving the circus as soon as I can, and until I 
do I shall be in your way as little as possible." 

He doffed his hat to her, and made a stride past her 
on the path by which she had come. 

She had by this time recovered herself. She did not 
move from where she stood, but said quietly: "That's a 


This brought him to a stop, and he turned towards 
her again. She stood half turned from him, her eyes 
lowered, and a faint smile at the corners of her mouth, 
while he uttered some of the bitterness that was in him. 

"Yes, you say that !" he cried vehemently. "You would 
like me to think that we might be friends, which is all 
that I have ever wished for." (Oh, Pippin!) "And when 
you have fooled me enough you will turn on me once 
more, as you did this morning. But, no! I won't be 
treated in that way any longer, by you or anybody. It's 
over now. I shall go away, remembering all the insults 
that you have piled on me, and you can play your games 
with some other fool, if you can find as big a one as I 
have been." 

She raised her eyes to him, still smiling a very little. 
"If you are going away," she said, "it would be better 
to part friends than enemies." 

She was a girl of the circus, with small knowledge 
of the world outside it; but she looked something very 
different as she stood there, in her young beauty; and 
her quietness in face of his vehemence seemed to put her 
far above him, though, if he had remembered it, it was 
he who had hitherto used restraint in face of provoca- 

His anger was dissolved under her words, but his sore- 
ness remained. "There has been no friendship between 
us," he said. "I have wanted it and you haven't. Why 
have you treated me as you have? Am I so much below 
all the rest of the men about you that you can make 
yourself a companion to them, while if I say as much 
as a word to you it is a deep offence? Oh, you have 
treated me shamefully, and for no reason, and you can't 


wipe it out by a word at the end, which to-morrow very 
likely you will pretend has never been said." 

The smile had faded from her face, which was still bent 
downwards. "I am not very happy," she said when he had 
finished speaking. 

It was no answer to anything he had said, but it melted 
him completely towards her. Of so brittle a stuff is the 
anger of a lover, that a word or a tone will bring it to 
an end. He had nothing to say for the moment, but 
stood staring at her. A tear escaped from her and ran 
down her cheek, at which he was so immensely moved 
that he forgot all that had gone before and stammered 
out his wish to protect her from all the woes of the 
world then and thereafter. 

She did not repulse him, but said : "Come and sit down 
here and I will tell you something," and they took their 
seat side by side on the log at the edge of the wood. 

She dried her tears, which had fallen more freely during 
his avowal, and smiled at him, which made him love her 
more than ever; for, whatever should happen now, he 
knew that this kindness of hers was no pretence, to be 
followed by a cruel disdain, but represented her true 
feeling for him. 

"If you are going away, 5 ' she said, "we can part as 
friends, and I am glad of it." 

"But if I stay !" he said. 

She hesitated, fingering a ribbon of her dress. "Per- 
haps you won't want to be friends when I tell you — " 
she said, and broke off without telling him. 

He took her hand. He was bold now. "Whatever you 
tell me," he said, "won't make any difference. I love you, 
and that is the only thing that matters." 


She left her hand in his and smiled at him, but said: 
"It might matter a little whether I loved you or not." 

This enchanted him. He smiled at her in return, and 
said: "But you do, don't you?" 

She sighed. "Perhaps I might have done," she said 
simply. "But I am engaged to be married, so I am afraid 
it isn't open to me to love anybody." 

This avowal was a shock to him, but he did not quite 
know what to make of it. He let go of her hand and 
frowned at her. It was she who had frowned at him, 
hitherto. "Do you mean to say that you are engaged 
to be married to somebody you don't love?" he asked 
her, going straight to the point. 

She was unwilling to acknowledge that. "I like him 
very well," she said. "It has been arranged for a long 
time. We are to be married when the summer is over, 
and he will take me away from the circus, for which I 
shall not be sorry." 

Her matter-of-fact tone subdued something of his ar- 
dour. He was not at all inclined to acknowledge the 
rights of any other man over her, but he had to know 
more about it before he could deal with the coil in which 
she was involved. 

It was a dealer in wild animals to whom her father 
had betrothed her. He lived hard by the docks of the 
great city, and received his wares from all parts of the 
world. He was a rich man, many years older than she 
was. She would have a settled life, and everything that 
money could buy for her. Wasn't that the best sort of 
marriage for a girl who had been roving since her child- 
hood, and was tired of it? 

No, Pippin protested fervently; it was the worst sort 


of marriage. She had made it plain that she did not 
love this rich man many years older than herself. It 
was a wicked thing to marry where no love was, and if 
she committed that sin she would bitterly repent it. 

He moved her, but she tried hard not to let him see 
it, and would not admit that she was marrying only for 
the sake of money. "He is a kind man," she said, "and 
I like him very much. My father is not always kind, 
and though I have learned how to deal with him I shall 
be glad to live with somebody else." 

"It is he that is driving you to do this wicked thing,** 
cried Pippin. "It might not have been so wrong if you 
had not met me; but now it is different." 

She did not rebuke him for this large assumption, but 
smiled at him rather sadly. "If I had known you be- 
fore \" she said. "But I have given my word now.' 5 

He protested all the more at that. "You do love 
me," he said vehemently. "If not so much as I love you 
yet, you do love me." 

She would not say that she didn't, but looked away, 
and said in a low voice: "We are quite different. You 
are very young, and perhaps you have never loved a 
girl before. But — " 

She did not go on. Perhaps she wanted to know 
whethei her hazard was true. 

Pippin vowed that she was the first girl he had ever 
loved, quite unmindful of his cousin Alison, who was 
waiting for his return in the white house on the downs 
so many miles away. But it was true that, although 
he had always loved Allison, there had been no passion 
ill his love for her. 

He told her of the home that was his, the old gabled 


house sunning itself among its orchards and wide pas- 
tures, where there was everything for a woman to make 
herself happy as well as a man, and love and warmth 
for whomever he should bring to it. 

She sighed again. "Such things are not for me," she 
said, and no warning came to him that she was right 
and that the life he was so ardent in offering her would 
not for long satisfy the woman she had been trained 
to be. 

But having said that, she did not refuse to listen to 
him further as he pressed her, all the more vehemently 
for what she was holding back from him. 

She would not say that she loved him, though it was 
plain that something in her was melting towards him. 
She was passive under his pleading, but he had again 
possessed himself of her hand, and she left it in his while 
she sat with downcast eyes which were now moist again. 

Suddenly she snatched away her hand and sprang up. 
They had been so taken up with one another that neither 
of them had heard an approaching footstep. By the 
way she had come Herr Schwenck had also come, whether 
under some suspicion or merely for a random stroll, which 
would have been unlike him, Pippin never knew, and now 
stood before them with red and angry face, and voluble 
words proceeding from his thick lips. 

Only a few minutes later, Pippin was sitting alone 
where he had been sitting when Rosie had come upon him. 
Her father's harsh angry voice was in his ears, but all 
the insulting things he had said were overborne by her 
one word of "Good-bye," which she had spoken in a low 
voice with her eyes upon his. 

That night Pippin left the circus, after a scene with 


Maddock, which ended on a more friendly note than had 
seemed likely at its beginning. "Well," said Maddock, at 
last, when he had seen that he was determined to go, "I 
never expected to keep you long, and it's quite true that 
I can do without you. So if part we must, let us part 
friends. We have had some pleasant times together, but 
your interest in natural science is not so great as I had 
thought. I must pursue my studies by myself." 

No doubt Maddock, who was for himself first and last, 
though he had something to spare for others in between, 
had got less pleasure out of Pippin's companionship than 
he had anticipated ; and he had told him more than once 
of late that he was not putting the same vigour into his 
act of Dick Turpin as he had begun with. He was a 
man who would rather have peace than strife, other 
things being equal, and Pippin was glad to take leave 
of him on a note of agreement. He had said nothing to 
him of Rosie Schwenck, but thought it was not improbable 
that her father would do so, and wanted to be out of 
it all before this came about. 

Night had fallen before he had finished with Maddock, 
who had been away all day. He left him to suppose that 
he would be setting off early the next morning, but he 
had already made his preparations, and within a few 
minutes of his leaving Maddock's caravan he had turned 
his back upon the tents and vans of the circus. He 
would have liked to say good-bye to one or two, and 
especially to the little child with whom he had made 
friends. But better away at once! 

He stood for a moment outside the caravan in which 
he knew that Rosie was, and then stepped out into the 
night, the load on his heart heavier than that on his back. 



Pippin walked throughout the night. He wanted to put 
the miles between him and the girl he loved but would 
never see again. He was as unhappy as only those can 
be who are bereft of hope, and these are more often the 
young than the old ; for in youth the lesson has not yet 
been learned that the strong desires of the moment will 
lose their strength, and others will take their place. 
Underneath this black cloud he could not reason his way 
into the sunshine that lay ahead of him; he could only 
oppose a stoic endurance to his misery, But in all the 
passing to and fro in his mind of memories and regrets 
the worst thought of all, that he would never see her 
again, became in some sort a stay to him, and by clinging 
to it he passed through and out of his dark time, but 
not until many days had gone by. 

The first signs of dawn found him many miles from 
the town where he had left the circus. He was on a high 
and desolate moor, with no signs of habitation in sight, 
but only the road beckoning him on to where human life 
would begin again beyond the rim of the hills. As the 
light grew stronger his thoughts took some colour from 
what he could see of his surroundings, and were perhaps 
even a little solaced by them, though he was not conscious 
of any lightening of his mood. 

The rabbits were out on the close nibbled turf, soaked 

in dew. The moorland birds were busy over their day's 



work of providing themselves with provender. Now and 
then the agile upland sheep, who roamed the wastes of 
grass and rock and heather in almost as wild a state as 
the birds and the rabbits, scurried out of his way and 
then turned to look at him walking doggedly along the 
highway. All these animals were fulfilling the laws of 
their being, in freedom. They were not thrown into misery 
by the processes of the mind, and if danger or terror 
came to them, the moment the oppression was lifted it 
was clean forgotten. But there was no freedom for man, 
<so much higher than they, who must keep to the trodden 
road, wherever it might lead him, and if he left it for 
a time must get back to it under pain of being lost alto- 

The sun came up over the dark moor and turned it 
to burnished gold, with embroideries of delicate fresh 
green, and the larks mounted up into the sky to sing its 
praises. Pippin was a thought comforted in spirit by 
its majestic uprising, but put the comfort away from 
him and plodded on. He was both tired and hungry 
now, but his sudden departure had not prevented his pro- 
viding himself with some food, which he ate as he walked 
along. It would be time to rest when he should be so tired 
that sleep would be a certainty, and there were signs of 
trees and a kinder country far ahead of him, in which 
he could find some sheltered spot in which to lay himself 

The sun was well up by the time he had mounted the 
last long hill at the edge of the moor, and saw spread 
out in front of him a wooded valley which had drawn to 
itself dwellings of men to till and tend its fertile acres. A 
brawling brook had come out of the hills to meet him and 


keep him company down the last mile of road. He drank 
from its sparkling waters, and presently when it ran 
under a stone bridge and went singing off to explore 
the recesses of a wood he followed it, to find a little grassy 
lawn shaded by oaks, which he took for his bed. He had 
no sooner laid his head upon the pack he carried than he 
fell asleep. 

He did not waken until some hours later, and might 
have slept longer still if he had not been roused by a 
damp touch on his cheek, which in springing up in sudden 
alarm he found to be from the nose of a dog that stood 
before him waving a friendly tail. 

The dog was a retriever, only just out of puppyhood, 
but grown to its full height and glossy perfection of coat, 
a nobly bred animal whose kindness and loyalty shone 
through his liquid brown eyes and made their way straight 
to Pippin's sore heart. For even upon his sudden wak- 
ing, in some alarm, his unhappiness had awakened too and 
lay in the back of his mind ready to show itself when 
he should have time to attend to it. The dog had not 
drawn back at his starting up, but stood as if ready to 
be thanked for. his greeting and invited to further demon- 
strations of affection. His look and attitude were so 
expressive that they seemed to translate themselves into 
spoken words. 

"Come now ! You never expected to find a friend here 
when you woke up, did you? Aren't you glad? What 
are we going to do together?" 

Pippin put his hand on the dog's smooth head, and 
was immediately overwhelmed with caresses, accompanied 
by ecstatic wrigglings of the body and sweepings of the 
feathered tail. 


"Ah! There's nothing like love in the world, is there? 
You and I were made for each other, I can't tell you 
what it means to me to find you here." 

It had just occurred to Pippin that the dog must 
have an owner, who could not be far away, when he saw 
a big man in the dress of a gamekeeper coming towards 
him. He was a lowering disagreeble-looking sort of fel- 
low, and eyed Pippin with some suspicion, but said 
nothing as he passed except to call roughly to the dog. 

The dog made motions of obedience with his head and 
tail but snuggled closer to Pippin. "I -shall have to 
go with him if he insists upon it, but you have taken my 
fancy and 111 stay with you if you can arrange it with 

"He's a nice dog this," said Pippin in a friendly 

The man stopped and looked at them both. "He's a 
well-bred dog," he said, "and worth a lot of money." 

The dog snuggled up still closer. "You heard that! 
Give him a lot of money, and I can stay with you." 

Pippin understood both the man and the dog. "Will 
you sell him?" he asked. 

The man said he would, and after another look at 
Pippin named a high price, 

"Oh, pay it," said the dog, "if you've got it. What's 
money compared with all the love I shall give you?" 

Pippin wanted love at that moment, more than any- 
thing. As it chanced, the sum that the man had men- 
tioned was exactly that which he had brought away with 
him for his work in the circus. There seemed to be some 
fitness in using it in this way, and he agreed at once to 
the price. 


The man seemed to regret that he had not asked more, 
"I don't know that I want to sell him after all," he said* 
"He'll take a lot of prizes when he's older." 

Pippin was ready enough to see what he would be at* 
He put his purse back in his pocket. "If you won't you 
won't," he said. "I know you won't get that money 
for him anywhere else." 

Then the man accepted the price and went off 
grumbling. The dog was in an ecstasy of pleasure, and 
Pippin was hardly less pleased at having found this new 
friend to stay him in his trouble, 

"Now what shall I call you?" he said. 

It was all one to the dog. He would answer to any 
name that his dear master fastened on to him. "Ben," 
suggested Pippin. Yes, that would do capitally. How 
clever to have thought of it ! But it was plain that such 
a master could be entirely trusted, whatever problem 
might confront him. 

Presently Pippin shouldered his pack and walked on 
again. The dog leaped about him barking his satisfac- 
tion at the prospect of movement, but the moment Pippin 
had put himself into motion he left him to follow the 
promptings of his own enquiring mind, though sometimes 
he would return just to show that they were indeed com- 
panions, and no disloyalty was intended by his intermit- 
tent rovings. 

"Well, dear master, have you ever enjoyed yourself 
more? I thought I must just come back for a word 
with you. Now I'll be off again. Hulloa! What's this? 
Smells to me like rabbit. Shouldn't wonder if one hadn't 
just gone into this wood. Eh? What's that? Ben! 
Yes, that's me. What do you want? Oh, very well, if 


you'd rather I didn't! I'd do much more to please you 
than stop chasing a silly little rabbit. What about a 
race along the road? Must stretch your legs a bit at 
this time of the morning. Well, if you won't I will. 
Watch me as far as that big tree." 

Pippin hardly knew how much his unhappiness was 
lessened by the companionship of this new loving friend 
of his. He watched him and laughed at him, and some- 
times kept him by his side to talk to him. But in the 
main trouble of mind still held him, memories ever renew- 
ing themselves, and longings so strong that he was more 
than once minded to turn round and retrace his steps to 
where he had come from, even if it were only to solace 
his eyes with one more look at the face of the girl he 
loved and set off again. But temptations of the mind 
are often subdued by actions of the body. When he was 
most beset in this way his feet carried him forward on 
his road, and he was just able to refrain from the effort 
of will that would have halted them and turned them 

Pippin was making for the sea, which was some days' 
march from where he had left the circus. The sea, with 
its wide free spaces and the unhindered sky over it, is 
a great solace to minds in perplexity. It bears witness 
to that infinity from which we came and to which we shall 
return, in the contemplation of which the greatest troubles 
of mankind are no more than the momentary fluttering of 
an insect's wing. He had lived his life within sound and 
sight of the sea, and in this first serious disturbance of 
mind that had ever come upon him he turned to it instinc- 
tively. He was further now from the great city than 
when he had started on his journeyings; but he was in 


no hurry to reach it. The lesser towns of which he 
had had experience had made it seem less desirable to 
him, and his inclination to walk through the country in 
freedom of body and as much as might be of spirit had 
revived, though not in its first strength and freshness. 

His road lay across the lonely moors, and through 
valleys which lay between them. Sometimes he walked 
for hours together as on the first day without meeting 
any of human kind; sometimes habitations around him 
were plentiful, and he could have had companionship on 
the road if he had desired it. But he was still sore from 
the wound to his heart, and in no mood to adapt himself 
to the ways and thoughts of others. He was content 
with the company of his dog Ben, who adapted himself 
to his, as far as in him lay. A dog who loves his master 
has no desires of his own strong enough to interfere with 
that single-minded devotion. Though on a lower scale 
of being than man, and upheld by none of the hopes of 
reward which encourage men to subdue their carnal de- 
sires, he responds promptly to the higher call of love 
and duty. His master can do no wrong in his eyes. If 
he is unjust or even cruel the dog will take punishment 
as his desert, though he does not understand it; and if 
tyranny relaxes ever so little he will forget it all and 
show love and gratitude for the relenting. Ben, with 
but a few months of life behind him, and a few years at 
most in front, knew already that love was the greatest 
thing in the world, and would follow its rule to the end. 
He trusted in Pippin for everything, and supported him 
in his trouble by that devotion. 

On the second evening the man and the dog came upon 
a moorland village, after covering many miles of road. 


Pippin was hungry and weary of foot, and Ben walked 
at his heels instead of scampering off hither and thither 
on his own devices. 

The first dwelling they came upon was a little farm 
some way apart from the village. There was a stone- 
built house, in a little garden, and a few fields reclaimed 
from the moor. In the garden was a long row of straw 
beehives, and a notice on the gate advertising the sale of 
honey, and also of refreshment for travellers. Refresh- 
ment was what Pippin most wanted at that moment, so 
he went through the garden and knocked at the door. 

As he stood waiting to be let in, Ben squatting on his 
haunches at his feet and looking up in his face with full 
confidence that something would come out of this of 
benefit to them both, voices were heard from inside the 
house, a woman's voice raised in shrill annoyance, and a 
man's in quieter remonstrance. Pippin knocked again 
more loudly. The voices ceased, and footsteps came to- 
wards the door. 

It was opened by a youngish man in his working 
clothes, which though worn and stained were of better 
quality than those of a field labourer, and had something 
reminiscent of the stable about them. The man was 
tall and thin and had a queer twisted smile on his shaven 
face, which was much lined, and browned by the sun. 
He limped badly, with one leg shorter than the other. 
It was plain by the smile that whatever sharpness had 
marked the conversation in which he had just taken part 
had not been on his side. Ben made haste to express his 
approval of him with a nose poked forward and waggings 
of his tail. "This is a man you may trust, master. I 
am never mistaken in such matters." 



Pippin asked if he might have the refreshment an- 
nounced for travellers, and the man scratched his close- 
cropped head and laughed. He did not reply directly* 
but called out, with a turn of the head towards the room 
from which he had come : "Here's a traveller, dear heart 1 
Now what did I tell you?" Then he stood aside and said: 
"Come in, sir, and we will see what we can do for you." 

Ben pushed by them both and ran into the room. Before 
Pippin could follow him there was a shriek of dismay, 
and the angry woman's voice was raised again in protest 
at this intrusion. Pippin entered with apologies and 
assurances that his dog was harmless, but Ben had already 
satisfied his curiosity upon what the room might contain, 
and was assuring his master that small notice need be 
taken of the person whom he had unwittingly alarmed. 

In appearance she was not what Pippin had expected 
to see. She stood by the window, a woman nearly as 
tall as her husband, and of about the same age. Her face 
had the remains of good looks that must have been hers 
in her earlier youth, but was marred by an expression 
of extreme ill-content, which was not of the moment but 
had set a permanent mark on it. What was most notice- 
able about her, in this rather poorly furnished cottager's 
room, with a husband hardly above the rank of a labourer, 
was that she was dressed as a lady of some quality, and 
in spite of her storming tongue and disagreeable look 
showed other marks of higher breeding. 

Fortunately Pippin's appearance pleased her, for she 
smiled graciously on him and said: "I was startled by 
your dog, but I see there is nothing to be frightened of." 
She made a motion of amity towards Ben, who was settling 
himself to sleep on the hearthrug, but though he looked 


at her out of a half opened eye he made no sign of accept- 
ing it. 

"Now can we give this young man some tea?'* her hus- 
band asked. "It's a fact, sir, that we only put up that 
notice this morning, after a few words about it, and we 
have taken no steps yet to supply what we offer. But I 
dare say we have enough of our own, and if you'll wait 
a moment I will see what can be done." 

His wife made no sign either of acquiescence or refusal, 
and he went out of the room. The lady motioned Pippin 
to a seat, and took one herself. She was dressed in out- 
door attire, and seemed to think that an explanation of 
that and other matters was the first thing necessary. 

"This is a very dull place you have come to," she said. 
"Nothing goes on in it from one year's end to the other 
except some old-fashioned dancing sometimes on summer 
evenings. I was just going to the village to look on at 
it, and my husband had promised to go with me. I had 
been dressed and waiting for him for half an hour and 
he comes in in his working clothes and expects me to go 
with him like that. Surely I have enough to put up with, 
married to a man who was nothing but my father's 
groom, without being made a laughing stock to all the 
clowns and trollopes of this wretched place he has brought 
me to !" 

Pippin was quite at a loss what to reply to this, but 
apparently she only wanted a listener, for she went on: 
"I dare say it surprises you to find a woman such as I 
am married to a man like that. He is a very wicked man. 
He took advantage of my youth and innocence of the 
world to make love to me, who was very far above him. 
I was not happy at home, for my father was a harsh 


man and my mother was dead. He persuaded me to run 
away with him and get married, and my father never for- 
gave me. I have never forgiven myself either. I have 
led a life of poverty and misery, when I might have had 
a very different lot. And all because I listened to a de- 
ceiver, who had some good looks then, whatever he may 
be now, and who swore that I should never repent trust- 
ing him. Ah, how bitterly I do repent it, every day of 
my life! The law ought to prevent such things. Men 
are punished for much less crimes than he committed, 
and yet he goes free and laughs at the world, while I his 
victim shall live in misery as long as my life lasts." 

She dissolved in tears. Pippin was made excessively 
uncomfortable, but in his inexperience was not without 
some sympathy for her, though from what he had already 
seen of her husband he was inclined to think her blame 
of him too absolute. 

The husband came back into the room at that moment. 
When he saw his wife in tears his face changed, and 
he said tenderly: "Ah, now, don't take on, dear heart. 
I was a brute to cross you, but there was such a lot of 
work to get through, and I wasn't feeling like turning 
myself into a gentleman just for the hour I could spare 
for the dancing. Now why shouldn't you go up to the 
green, and when this young man has had his tea and 
rested a bit perhaps he'll join you on his way to the town. 
Then you'll have a handsomer beau than ever I can make 
you, however I dress myself up." 

Pippin's sympathies had now veered to the side of 
the husband. He was not anxious to squire the wife 
anywhere, and he still had eight or nine miles to walk 
to the seaside town where he was to sleep; but he made 


haste to offer himself, and the lady with a glance at his 
good-looking youthful face and trim figure, graciously 
accepted his offer and left the house, without a word to 
her husband, whose offence still rankled. He was limping 
in and out of the room, spreading the tea-table, deftly 
enough, as if he was quite used to this kind of work, 
which might have been expected to be performed by the 
woman of the house. 

"Ah, the poor soul!" he said, with a glance at her 
through the window walking down the garden path. "It's 
a trying life for one brought up as she was. Now I'll 
be bound that it surprised you to find a lady of that 
quality married to a common bee-keeper. It's a sad life 
she's had from the very start of things, and I wish I could 
do something to make it brighter for her. If I hadn't had 
the bad accident I did soon after we were married I 
might have got on and made more money. Then she 
wouldn't ha' felt she'd come down so. It's a hard thing 
for a woman to come down in the world, young master. 
Now I think here's everything ready for you. If you'll 
allow me I'll drink a cup of tea with you myself. I shall 
be glad to sit down for half an hour, for my hip is bad 
to-day. Happen there's thunder somewhere about. 
That bone of mine tells me the weather that's coming bet- 
ter than any glass that was ever made." 

If the bee-keeper was responsible for the victualling of 
his house, he had made as good a job of it as any woman 
could have done. There was a crisp-crusted loaf of home- 
made bread, rich yellow butter, and heather scented 
honey oozing out of its comb. The tea was of no super- 
fine quality, but there was thick cream to drink with it. 
Pippin was almost ashamed of the appetite with which 


he fell upon this good fare, but his host encouraged 
him with one of his queer sidelong smiles, "I don't eat 
much myself," he said, "I get too tired for it. But I 
like to see a hearty appetite. Well there now! If we 
haven't forgotten the dog! Poor old fellow, then! I've 
got just the thing for you in the larder. Wait a minute 
now, and I'll get it for you." 

He was up and out of the room, and immediately re- 
turned with a mutton bone, with which Ben, who had 
roused himself and shown his surprise at being left out 
of the feast, was made content on the doorstep. Then 
he sat himself in his wooden arm chair again with all the 
signs of a man very tired in body, though his talk was 
vigorous enough, and he seemed pleased to have somebody 
with whom to exchange it. 

Pippin asked him about the accident to which he had 
alluded. "Well, it was a bad business coming when it 
did," he said. "It's a queer life I've had altogether, and 
I can't be quite sure that I acted right in it when I 
married a lady I'd perhaps no right to. I'll tell you my 
story, if you'd like to hear it, and if you say you think 
I'm not much to blame, why it will be some relief to me; 
for I can't do as much for my poor wife as I should 
like, and there come times when she feels it more than 
ordinary. She's taking it hard just now, poor soul, and 
• . . Well now, I should like to ask you as a young man 
of education, which I never had much of, whether you 
think I did right or not at that time I'm going to tell 
you of." 

"I'm pretty sure that whatever you did it wasn't for 
wrong," said Pippin; "but let me hear all about it." 

So the bee-keeper began his story. 



"I was brought up in a stable," said the bee-keeper, 
"and when I was a boy I loved horses better than any- 
thing else. I love them now, but somehow the wish to 
spend my life among them has gone from me. I was 
sent to school, but learned very little, and was taken 
away as soon as was allowed, and I'm sorry for that now, 
because if I knew more that comes out of books there 
wouldn't be such a difference as there is between me and 
my wife, who was sent out of England for her education 
and can speak French just as easily as her own language. 
She's a woman of very great gifts, and they are all wasted 

"It was my father's wish to get me into a racing stable, 
for I was a good rider from an early age, and lightly 
built, and he thought I might have become a famous 
jockey. Perhaps I might, but the only chance I ever 
had was spoiled by my getting some illness, and when I 
was well enough the place was filled up. So I went from 
one private stable to another, until I was about twenty, 
when I settled down as head-groom to a gentleman — I 
won't tell you his name — in this county, who kept a good 
stable of hunters, and there I stayed for three years. 

"I was a wild lad in the way of running after the 

lasses, and my poor wife often brings that up against 

me now. And I used to drink too, not enough to get 

me into trouble, but more than was good for me, and 



she brings that up against me too, though I haven't set 
my lips to strong liquors for years past. But the fact 
is I wasn't much good as a young man, and the faults 
I committed were just such as a lady born would find it 
least easy to put up with. Still, she was young herself 
then, and I was an active merry young spark, and I 
suppose that was something to balance the bad in 

"Well, if I drank a little more than was good for me 
now and then, my master drank a great deal more than 
was good for him all the time. He was a hard cruel man 
besides, and they told me that he'd driven his wife into 
her grave, which was before I went there. The young 
lady was his only child, and he'd sent her off to school 
in France, and kept her there till she was grown up. It 
wouldn't have been a house for a young girl to live in 
when I first went there, for he didn't care what opinion 
he was held in by his neighbours, and followed all the 
desires of his nature, which was low and base in every way 
that I could ever see. We men about the place all hated 
him, but he paid us well and left us alone for the most 
part, so many stayed on with him for years. 

"Then he married again, and the woman he married 
wasn't such as to make the house any better for a young 
girl to come to. But he had his daughter home, and then 
it was that the trouble began. 

"Ah, she was a pretty young creature in those days — 
too pretty to suit her stepmother, who was jealous of 
her. The neighbours of my master's quality would ask 
her to their houses, but they wouldn't have anything to 
do with his wife, and presently she wasn't allowed to go 
to them. Her father didn't seem to have the natural 


affections of a father for her, and whatever his wife 
told him to do he did. He was drinking very hard by 
that time, and she had a hold over him and kept it. 

"The only thing the young lady was allowed to do 
that pleased her was to ride, and it was me that generally 
attended her. I won't say I was in love with her, for 
she was so far above me that it would ha' seemed waste of 
time, and I wasn't losing time in those days over my love- 
making; but of course I admired her, and I was flattered 
when she took to making me ride by her side and talking 
to me. Things were in such a bad way in the house that 
she didn't keep off them for long, and presently it was all 
she talked about. I was young and easily worked on, 
especially by a woman in trouble, and I used to get so 
hot over her wrongs that for a very little I would have 
had it out with the master and his wife too. But that 
wouldn't have done her much good. She used to say it 
did do her good to talk to me about it all, and of course 
I was flattered by that too, and I dare say I became 
more free with her than was right for a servant with 
his young mistress, though I'll swear there was never 
anything but respect in my mind for her, and I'd no 
thought of stepping over the bounds. 

"Well this went on for nearly a year from the time 
she first came home. Then one day we set out for a 
ride over the moors. I rode behind her as usual till we 
were out of sight of the house, and then she stopped 
for me to come up with her. I'd noticed that she looked 
queer-like when she mounted, and as I rode up she began 
to cry and said a dreadful thing had happened. Her 
stepmother had made a scene with her about me, and 
accused her of — well, I can't bring my lips to say it. But 


I was to be sent away, and she said I was the only friend 
she had in the place, and she couldn't bear it. 

"That set me all on fire. 'It's a wicked thing to say,' 
I said, 'but if it isn't true of you it is of me. I do love 
you,' I said, 'and though I'm only a servant, and you're 
a lady born, if you trust yourself to me I'll swear you 
shall never regret it.' 

"Ah, if I'd known! I meant everything I said, but it 
was beyond my power to carry out. I've done my best. 
No, I don't think there's anything I can reproach myself 
with since then. I've done my best. But my best wasn't 
enough. It was then and there I made the mistake, if 

"What mistake ?" asked Pippin stoutly. He had found 
himself liking this man more and more as he had dis- 
closed himself in telling his story, and the impression 
that the wife had made upon him was not such as to 
arouse an equal sympathy. "What mistake? You say 
she was unhappy, and you offered her protection and the 
love of an honest man. What could she have to com- 
plain of in that? It was an honour you did her." 

"She says I took advantage of her, poor soul. I 
wasn't her equal, and that counts for a lot in marriage. 
She overlooked that when I was young and ardent. Oh, 
I did love her, and I love her still. I suppose it had 
been coming on all the time, and when she accepted me 
as her lover it all came rushing out. I felt as if I could 
move mountains for her. If she wanted wealth I could 
earn it for her. I would give her everything she had had 
at home and more besides, for I'd give her all the love 
I had in my heart, and she'd had no love to sweeten her 
life in her home. I was as proud and happy as a king 


as we rode together, and I couldn't help it showing when 
I took her home, for it was that brought on the catas- 

"She did accept you then?" 

"Yes. I was to go off and get into a position in which 
I could keep her. I knew I could do it. I could do any- 
thing. Then I was to ask for her boldly, and if her 
father refused, as we thought he would, she was to come 
to me. For she was of age, and he couldn't have stopped 

"But when we rode up to the house her stepmother 
was waiting for us. And she saw. We thought after- 
wards that she had seen it coming and wanted it. There 
was a child of her own on the way, and it would be to her 
advantage to get her step-daughter out of the house. 
There was a very ugly scene, which I won't describe to you. 
I was altogether set above myself, and I spoke to her 
not as my mistress but as one who was insulting the girl 
I loved, who looked to me for protection. When it was 
at its height she flounced into the house and brought 
her husband out, and I spoke my mind to him too, and 
raised such a fury in him that he would have horse- 
whipped me if he had dared. He did raise the whip he 
carried in his hand, but I seized it from him and broke 
it and threw it away, and he was very near apoplexy if 
you could trust to the signs. 

"Well, when my poor girl had left the house to ride 
that morning she had left it for the last time. They 
wouldn't let her in again. They sent her off with me, 
anywhere we pleased to go, in her riding habit as she was. 
They wouldn't even let her have her own clothes. That 
was the woman, who showed her spite for things I had 


said to her, in that way ; for the father, angry as he was, 
had said they should be sent after her. 

"I won't go into all that happened immediately after 
that. People were kind to ns. We were married, and I 
got a place in a livery stable at that town you are going 
to to-night. An old coachman I had been under owned 
it, and I made him take me on. Seems to me I could 
have made anybody do anything for me at that time, for 
it wasn't for me, it was for her, who was much more to 
me than I was myself. And I knew that if I laid my 
course well, the business would be mine some day. Nothing 
could have stopped me getting on — well, except what 
did stop me. 

"We were happy for a year. I shall always have that 
to look back upon. I earned good money, and she 
earned money too, as a riding-mistress. Our story be- 
came known, and people took an interest in us, and she 
made a few friends among people of her own sort. I 
kept out of the way with them; I wasn't going to drag 
her down further than I had by marrying her, and I was 
trying to improve myself all the time so as not to shame 

"Yes, for a year I was happy. She made me so. She 
never complained of anything in those days, and I think 
she was happy too. She used to say she was then, 
though now — 

"Well, it was too good to last. She had to lie up for 
a child coming. She was very ill, poor soul, and the 
child died. That was a great grief to me. A sweet little 
girl it was, and though she only lived a few weeks I loved 
her very deeply. I'm sure she knew me when I nursed 
her, and once she smiled at me when I went to her. I'm 


sure of it, and I can see her now, the darling little soul. 
Ah, if she'd only lived ! 

"You may believe that that heavy sorrow made me all 
the more tender to my poor wife. She seemed to get 
over it sooner than I did, but sometimes I think she 
never did really get over it, for it was never quite the 
same afterwards. She recovered and went back to her 
riding, which she liked. It might have gone better again 
then, but she had only been at it a week when I had 
my accident. I was trying a hunter for a customer. 
I got badly thrown. My hip was smashed up, and there 
was some trouble internally too. 

"I was on my back for the best part of a year. I 
couldn't expect my place to be kept open for me for ever ; 
besides I was told I could never ride again, and it was 
the saddle part of the business I looked after. I had 
saved very little, because we expected to be making more 
soon, and she had been used to so much that it wasn't 
to be expected she could do with what would have been 
enough for me. But after a time, poor soul, she had 
to live very poor, and it was on what she earned that 
we kept going. When it got very bad she wrote to her 
father, but he sent back her letter unopened. I don't 
know what we should have done, but an uncle of mine 
who owned this little farm, and came to see me when I 
was laid up, offered me a home here, and said he had 
always meant to leave it to me. He was a queer crusty 
old fellow, but good-hearted, and he was kind to me as 
long as he lived, which wasn't for long after we came 
here. He and my poor wife didn't get on. I'd brought 
some of my ways up to hers, but the old man wouldn't. 
He seemed to take a pride in making himself out rougher 


than he really was, and wanted her to work in the house 
and about the place just as if she might have been one of 
our sort. But I wouldn't have that, and whatever I could 
do when I began to get about a bit I did, and presently I 
got to doing it nearly all. He wasn't ill long when he 
did begin to fail, and I nursed him, and he was grateful. 
He left me everything, and there was some money too 
which he had said nothing about; so I reckoned we had 
been lucky, and if I worked hard we should have a home 
together that she needn't be ashamed of after all. 

"I wanted to buy some more land with the money the 
old man had left, and some stock. But the time I'd been 
ill and so much had depended upon my wife, had tried 
her hard, and she wanted to go away for a time. I 
thought it was best, and if she had her holiday with people 
of her own sort she might come back happier, and we 
could live together again as we had when we were first 
married. For things had changed between us, and she 
wasn't happy with me any longer, poor soul. 

"So she went away, and I set myself to do all I could 
to work the place up, and looked forward to getting more 
for her in time. The old man had made most of his 
money out of bees, and had taught me what he knew, and 
I was interested in it, but thought I could do more with 
land and stock. However, it's the bees that have been 
our standby, after all; for I could never get together 
enough afterwards to buy more land." 

"Did she spend it all, then?" asked Pippin. 

"Oh, you're not to blame her," said the bee-keeper. 
"She wasn't brought up to think about money; and as 
I told you she had been very much tried. She had to go 


away. I could see that, and we parted good friends. 
When she did come back to me — " 

"When was that?" asked Pippin, remorselessly. He 
had heard nothing so far that had made him think well 
of the wife, though his sympathy with the husband had 
risen all the time he had been telling his story. 

"She was away for a year — rather more than a year," 
he admitted, reluctantly as it seemed. "Then she came 
back, and you may judge that I was overjoyed to see 
her." He sighed. "But I haven't been able to make 
her happy. I can't give her what she wants and what 
she ought to have. She misses too much. I ought never 
to have married her. She was too high above me." 

His story had come to an end. He sat in dejection, 
going over his memories, while Pippin nerved himself to 
make fitting comment upon what he had heard. He was 
young and inexperienced in life, but his honesty was too 
great to allow him to keep to himself what he thought. 
He cleared his throat, at which Ben, who had slept 
peacefully through the bee-keeper's narrative, as none of 
his concern, opened an eye, but satisfied that if blame 
were coming it was not for him, closed it again. 

Pippin thought it well to begin with a recommendation 
of the wisdom of what he was about to say. "I am 
younger than you," he said, "but I have been about the 
world and have kept my eyes open to what goes on in it. 
And I know a great deal about love, though at present 
I am unattached." It cost him something to say this, 
but he thought he could help the bee-keeper most by 
doing so. "If the lady who is now your wife had begun 
by pretending to scorn you, and had then acknowledged 


that she loved you, but was bound to somebody else, 
you might — " He had forgotten what this was to have 
led to, but the bee-keeper did not seem to have been lis- 
tening, and he began again. 

"You say you were happy with her for a year, and 
you have made it plain, although you have not said a 
word of blame of her, that when you were ill and she 
ought to have been most tender towards you, she was 
thinking only of herself. And it is also plain that she 
has thought about nobody but herself ever since. If 
she is not happy, with a good man like you, so anxious 
to make her so, it is her fault and not yours. Your story 
had made me very indignant against her. I wouldn't 
interfere between a man and his wife, but if you want my 
advice you will change your attitude towards her alto- 
gether. You make yourself her servant. She will be 
much more what she ought to be towards you if you 
make her yours for a change. What are you doing with 
the work of the house on you as well as your work outside, 
while she doesn't put a finger to it? When I marry x if 
I ever do, but I have almost made up my mind not to, 
I shall be master in my own house. Every man ought 
to be that. Women are good for many things, but it 
is not for them to rule their husbands." 

The bee-keeper looked at him, and smiled his queer 
sidelong smile. "Where you love you want to serve," he 
said quietly. He rose from the table. "Well, it has done 
me good to talk to you," he said. "You are very young, 
but there is something about you that draws confidence. 
I hope you will be very happy in your life, young sir, 
and when the time comes you will get a wife to suit you* 


But don't take her from a station above your own, or 
below it either. If you do the one she may get tired of 
you, and if you do the other you may get tired of her. 
And now I must go about my work." 

As Pippin walked on, with Ben now thoroughly restored 
gambolling about him, he thought with some vexation that 
his good advice had been treated with less consideration 
than it deserved. "If he would take the stick to her, it 
would do her all the good in the world,'* he said, and 
flourished his own stick, to the surprise of Ben who 
imagined himself guilty of some misdemeanour, and came 
wriggling up to apologize for it. 

As he approached the village he saw groups of people 
gathered about a grassy space a little aside from the 
road, from which came the music of a fiddle, and in 
which country dancing was going on. He was somewhat 
inclined to join in it, but the evening was drawing on 
and he had some miles still to go ; and besides, the simple 
play of boys and girls was not for him, disillusidned as 
he was and feeling himself much aged by what had be- 
fallen him. But he stood for a minute to watch from 
a distance, and thought he saw the bee-keeper's wife, in 
her large flowered hat, footing the measure, which did 
not incline him any the more graciously towards her, 
when he remembered her husband working for her in her 

A tall stout man in the dress of a farmer came down 
the path towards him, with a sheep dog at his heels. 
Ben, not yet of an age to have learned reticence towards 
those of his kind, made overtures of friendship, which 
the other dog, too old and patient to resent the indiscre- 


tions of youth, received with a remote air, but gave a 
little growl of warning when they were persisted in. 

His master rebuked him, which served for an intro- 
duction between him and Pippin, and they walked on 
together. He was a hearty rugged man with very blue 
eyes in his red face, and strong white teeth. He spoke 
in broad dialect and told Pippin that he had never been 
further than twenty miles from where they were, and never 
wished to go that far again. He seemed to be very well 
content with himself and his lot in life, and told Pippin 
all about his farm and his stock and the money he had 
lying in the bank. Then Pippin said something about 
the bee-keeper and his wife, and the farmer's face changed. 
"That's a woman who ought to have her neck wrung," 
he said, and Pippin was pleased to have his opinion of. 
her endorsed, though it had not occurred to him to express 
it so strongly. 

"How the old man hated her!" said the farmer. "It 
was dog and cat between them all the time, and he would- 
n't ha' put up with her but he was fond of her husband. 
She went away for nigh on two years when the old man 
died, and spent all the money he'd saved up. A good 
thing if she'd never come back I But nobody else wanted 
her, and the poor fellow couldn't make enough to keep 
her in idleness away from him, or I make no doubt she'd 
have stayed away from him for ever, and gone on bleed- 
ing him." 

"He told me his story, and asked my advice," said Pip- 
pin with an air of some importance. "I told him that 
if he were to make her serve him for a change instead of 
his serving her it would do her a lot of good." 


"Then 70a spoke a true word," said the farmer, with a 
quizzical look at him. "And what might he have said 
to that?" 

Pippin searched in his brain. "He said something 1 
about liking to serve a person you loved," he said. 

••That's it," said the farmer. "He couldn't do it. He's 
too good a man. It would do her good, but it wouldn't 
do him good. Come to think of it, he's better off than 
she is. For she's thinking about herself all the time, and 
he's thinking about somebody else. You might not think 
it to look at me and hear me talk, but Pm a man who 
holds my religion, and to my mind that's the kernel of 
the whole nut of it. Now this is where I turn off, but 
why shouldn't you come along with me and take a bite 
and a sup, and sleep in a good feather bed instead of the 
flock youTl get in that place of robbery?" 

Pippin thanked him warmly for his hospitality, but 
said that it was necessary for him to press on. He was 
not yet cured of his desire for solitude, and for chewing 
the cud of his own reflections; and he had been talking 
or listening to talk for two hours past. So the farmer 
left him, and he walked on alone over the now darkling 
moor, with something to add to his thoughts as he went. 



Pippin walked on across the high moor. He was not 
quite satisfied with himself, for he thought he might 
have done more to show his disapproval of the bee- 
keeper's wife, though it is difficult to see what more he 
could have done unless he had rebuked the lady to her 
face; and that would scarcely have helped matters. But 
when the moral sense of youth is aroused it can only be 
quieted by giving it vent, and presently Pippin came 
dimly to see that it was only himself that he would have 
satisfied by expressing his indignation, and left consid- 
eration of the matter. 

He returned once more to thoughts of his own affairs, 
but found that the break in that obsession had somewhat 
lessened its hold upon him. He did not want this. He 
wanted to go on loving Rosie Schwenck, and perhaps 
some day to meet her and prove to her that he no longer 
loved her ; nor did he perceive that these two desires were 
contradictory. But for the time he allowed himself to 
anticipate some interest in life apart from her, and this 
was perhaps the first step in his cure. 

He was looking forward with some anticipations of 
pleasure to the seaside town to which the road was lead- 
ing him. He had been on the lonely moors for some days, 
and was ready for a spell of gaiety. It was to be other 
people whose gaiety he would look on at; for himself 

such moods were at an end. His youth was behind him; 



he was now a strong stern man who would never again 
yield himself to lightness of heart or behaviour. But he 
pressed forward over the darksome expanse of moor to 
where he would be greeted by the light of the town and be 
once more among the heartening crowd. 

He came to the top of a hill, and there was the wide 
sweep of the bay below him, pricked* out with lights where 
the promenades followed the line of the shore, and behind 
them the streets of houses large and small, also lit up, 
more dimly, but so as to cast a radiance over them, de- 
scending from the lower slopes of the hill to the water's 
edge. Pippin paused for a moment to take it all in. 
He felt some exhilaration at the sight of the town lighted 
up, which was enhanced by the contrasting solemnity of 
the sea lying still and immense in the summer night. But 
it was late. Fatigue and hunger had come upon him 
again, and he was soon on his way down to his supper 
and his bed. 

The next morning he awoke to the sound of the waves 
pulsing upon the shore immediately in front of his win- 
dow. A fresh breeze had sprung up with the morning, 
but there was never a cloud in the sky and the sea was 
dancing with myriad points of light, and dotted with 
the sails of the fishing boats. It was still early, but 
who could lie in bed with that fresh salty air coming in 
at the window, and the sun and the music of the waves 
outside? In a few minutes Pippin and Ben were on the 
sands, and in a few minutes more in the water. Then the 
advancing burden of age which Pippin had felt so heavy 
upon him during the past days dropped away. He was 
happy again, laughing for the pleasure of his youth and 
strength as he breasted the salt water and played with his 


dog, inseparable from him in one element as upon the 

He stayed for some days in this town, and made 
friends among the holiday makers, and particularly with 
the children who played upon the sands, helping them 
with their games and their castle buildings, a companion 
to be greeted with shouts of welcome whenever he ap- 
peared among them, and to be followed and imitated in 
all things. It was with the more simple folk that he con- 
sorted, whose recreation chiefly was to sit and walk by 
the sea, to rest themselves for a time from the toil to 
which they would presently return. Even the boys and 
girls of his own age led an idle life of preference, though 
there was much pairing among them, and their brains 
were busy enough if their bodies were quiescent. In the 
evening they would resort to the cheaper forms of enter- 
tainment provided for such as they, but Pippin made no 
confessions of having recently been one of those who' 
provided them. He was coming to be a trifle ashamed of 
that episode in his life, but also hugged some pride at 
having been behind the scenes and come out again among 
the spectators, disillusioned. 

In his modest lodging was a young man who had not 
come to this place on a holiday, but to prepare the way 
for a great musician, whose name in letters a foot high 
was on all the hoardings. The young man's name was 
Dent. The musician's name was much more complicated, 
and even Dent seldom called him by it, but in conversa- 
tion shortened it to Baffy. 

Dent was a pale young man with long hair and a very 
energetic, almost a fierce, manner. He might have been 
a musician himself from his appearance, but he was not* 


He was a writer, and on his own showing a highly skilled 
one, though a general conspiracy on the part of all those 
who had to do with introducing the work of a writer to 
the public had hitherto prevented his gaining his due 

"But some day you will see," said Dent, vehemently* 
"I shall not always have to do this sort of thing for a 
living. In my own way I shall be as great a man as 
Baffy, and if I don't make quite so much money I shall 
make enough. It is not wealth that I desire. To my 
mind a great artist, in whatever sphere, gets his chief 
pleasure in practising his art, and all he ought to want 
to gain from it is what will enable him to devote himself 
to it free from the sordid cares of life." 

Pippin admired this philosophy. Dent was a young 
man of superior education, and it seemed to Pippin that 
he might very well rise to be somebody in the calling he 
had chosen for himself, if he could only find time to 
practise it. But he was kept very busy going from one 
place to another to prepare the way for the glorious ap- 
pearances of his master, who paid him well but expected 
to be diligently served in return. 

Pippin could not quite make out his attitude to the 
great musician. Sometimes he would speak of him almost 
worshipfully, at others with something like contempt. 
"But I don't see very much of him when we are travel- 
ling," he said. "When he comes in I go out. On the 
whole I prefer that, for I get a few hours to my- 

"I suppose he really is a very great player," said Pip- 
pin, who had been impressed by the advertisement that 
Dent put forth so lavishly. 


"The greatest of all," said Dent. 

"Then why—?" 

"Why don't I want to see more of him than I need? 
Why because I can distinguish between a man and his 
art. Baffy is a great artist — a very great artist ; but — . 
Now Nl tell you something about him. Some time ago I 
wrote a little story founded on his career, and like a fool 
I read it to him, because I was rather proud of it. He 
was annoyed, and forbade me to publish it. That's 

'Why did he refuse to have it published?" 

'Why ? Because he doesn't like it to be known that his 
origin was a low one. To my mind it is more to his 
credit to have made himself what he is than if he had 
been born to it. He couldn't have been born to the artistic 
eminence that is his; he would have to work for that in 
any case. As for the rest, there are thousands of 
people of no merit whatever as high in the world as 
he is. It is just one of the things that has come to him, 
and so is the money that he makes. If I ever become 
famous as a writer, I will not, no I will not allow myself 
to be led away into prizing the mere accidents of my suc- 
cess. But you shall hear my story, and say whether you 
don't think it would reflect more credit upon a great 
artist to have the truth told about him in that way than 
to conceal it." 

They were sitting by Pippin's window, looking out over 
the sea, upon which the moon was shining. Dent went 
to fetch his manuscript, and presently returned. "It is 
not very long," he said in apology. 

"I am sorry for that," said Pippin politely. 

Then Dent read his little story, which he called 



He was born in a village in the middle of a bare, 
almost treeless plain. The brown fields stretched away 
on either side, their dull monotony broken by a sparse 
network of roads, here and there a farmstead, a hamlet, 
or a little town, and some leagues away the silver thread 
of a river. 

But at the edge of the plain, far distant, were the 
mountains, pointing white pinnacles above the desolate 
winter earth, or in summer swimming in blue vapour. 

His father was the village schoolmaster, a disappointed 
embittered man, miserably poor, nursing a sullen rage 
against the fate that had cut him off from everything 
that might have solaced his life, a daily menace to the 
children whom he taught, an hourly terror to his own, 
who had lost their mother and were dependent upon him 

The child was often hungry, in the winter nearly always 
cold and miserable, and more unhappy even than a child 
need be to whom cold and hunger are an accepted part of 

But the mountains ringing the plain in whose vastness 
his poor little body seemed to be imprisoned lifted his 
spirit; the mountains and the mild airs of spring, the 
flowers in the fields, and the song of the few birds whose 
notes were heard in that sad country. And when, in the 
church, the congregation bang in unison, unaccompanied, 
ihe music of the Mass, he was strangely moved. It seemed 
to him that somewhere in the world there was happiness, 
if he could only find it some day. 

His chief friend was a little crippled tailor, who played 


a cheap fiddle. It was the only musical instrument he 
had ever heard. He persuaded his friend to teach him 
what he knew, and he could soon play better than his 
master. But he was not satisfied. He craved for some- 
thing, he knew not what ; for something beyond those thin 
unsupported notes. 

When he was ten years old, his father was appointed 
to a school in a small town. On his first Sunday in 
church the boy heard the Mass sung to an organ. The 
organ had only one row of pipes and no pedals, but the 
harmony of notes, which was new to him, was more beauti- 


ful than anything he could have conceived. Some weeks 
later, when he had arduously scraped acquaintance with 
the organist, he listened to a fugue of Bach's, played on 
an old piano. Limitless horizons were opening out before 

Three years later the organist died, and he was 
appointed to fill his place. His musical precocity was a 
source of pride to his employers, who also saved money 
by filling the place of a man with a child. 

Not until he was sixteen years of age had he ever been 
away from the place in which he was born and the place 
in which he lived and drudged. Then one day in May 
he walked thirty miles to the nearest big town, where a 
great virtuoso was to give a piano recital. He sat in one 
of the cheapest seats, tired and dusty, and was straight- 
way transported into paradise. 

When the Master came out of the hall and crossed the 
pavement to his carriage, a youth in shabby clothes, thin: 
and poor, with bared untidy hair and wild eyes, pushed 
through the cheering crowd that thronged around him, 
seized his hand and kissed it. Before the great man had 


recovered from his surprise, the spectre had disappeared. 

All through the night, as he tramped the leagues of 
white road, lit by the stars, back to his home oblivious of 
hunger and fatigue, that glorious music rang in his head. 
He heard the silvery chime and tinkle of the treble, the 
metallic clangour of the bass, the more tuneful mid-notes, 
the sad and merry airs, the sweet cadences. He marvelled 
at an instrument so mechanical which yet at the bidding 
of a master registered such an infinite gradation of 
sounds and moods. And he marvelled at the genius that 
could so concentrate itself as to evoke that perfect 
response. What had he known of music before he had 
heard the king of instruments and the king of piano- 
players? Thenceforward his path was clear. 

Two years later he was living in a garret in a poor 
part of a great musical city. He had a table, two chairs, 
and a box for furniture. His bed was on the floor. The 
boards were uncarpeted, the window uncurtained. But 
he had a piano, upon which he practised for many hours 
a day. 

The privations he endured were greater than those he 
had known in his childhood. He was always hungry now, 
except when his master invited him to a meal ; in the win- 
ter he was always cold, for he could not afford a fire. No 
one who had not been brought up to a life of hardship 
could have gone through those terrible years of labour. 

At times he was more unhappy than he had ever been, 
for he knew despair. This was when the unspeakable 
drudgery to which he submitted himself seemed to be fail- 
ing in its end, when he would practise for days and weeks 
together without a sign of progress, or when his master 
rated him. 


Then he would wake up one morning and sit at the 
keyboard, to find that he had moved a step forward. Or 
an encouraging word would blow the failing spark of his 
ambition into new flame. 

With immense meticulous labour he brought his muscles 
under control, till his forearms were like bundles of steel 
rods, his neck and shoulders inured to fatigue, his wrists 
and fingers supple and strong. He could run his hands 
over the keys with a touch as light as gossamer, and 
every note clear and even ; and he could arouse such dangl- 
ing reverberations as would have seemed impossible to 
one of his slender physique. 

It took him two years to reach this point, and he was 
often in such pain and trouble at the end of the day that 
he wept as he laid himself down on his bed. 

In the remaining two years of his apprenticeship his 
life was brighter, but still full of difficulty, and sometimes 
of distress. He had to learn to interpret the meaning of 
the composers whose works he played. He descended into 
the depths again, for half-starved and miserable in body 
as he was his brain was now less alert to grasp and invent,, 
and his master, who never spared his pupils, stormed at 
him for stupidity. "You can play the notes better 
than anybody," he shouted, "but you cannot play the 
music. Go back and think." 

He was kicked away in the third summer to take a 
month's holiday, and returned with his understanding 
braced. But still there remained months and months of 
arduous toil, and a slow unequal climb to the point at 
which he should be able to see, and take advantage of 
what he saw. 

Sometimes, after long effort and endless repetition, the 


perfect phrase would ring out as if by magic, disappear, 
perhaps for days, come out again, and gradually be cap- 
tured wholly, a matchless possession. Then the whole 
would be built up, and he was eager, grudged no pains, 
laughed for pleasure, and felt the glow of inspiration. 

Those gleams of pleasure became more frequent as the 
months went by, and during the last summer of his pre- 
paration he would sometimes lean out of his window high 
above the narrow street and dream dreams of the future. 
For he was still very young, although he had gone through 
a life time of labour. 

Now, whenever he plays in public, a slender loose- 
haired figure, with thin hands and melancholy far-seeing 
eyes, alone on the platform, while in rows and tiers before 
him the packed audience listens entranced to the magic of 
his music, he is greeted as a portent, half-divine. Stories 
are told of his royal progress through the world, of the 
fabulous sum he gains for a performance lasting two 

"It is easy to make a fortune with such a gift as that,'* 
some say. But others are wiser. They know that in art, 
as in life, there is no road to perfection except through 

Dent folded his paper. "What do you think of it?" 
he asked, after a short pause. 

Pippin aroused himself. "It is wonderful," he said. 
"I had no idea that all that labour went to the making 
of a piano-player." 

Dent, upon whose face had come a simper of grati- 
fication at the first three words, looked a trifle disap- 
pointed at those which followed. "Yes, it is something 


like that," he said. "I got it all out of Baffy at one 
time or another, except the lonely country at the begin- 
ning, which was an idea of my own, for I believe Baffy 
was born in a slum of a great city. But I think the 
story is improved by my alteration, don't you?" 

"Perhaps it is," said Pippin; "but you ought not to 
have told me." 

Dent looked at him shrewdly. "That is a very good 
criticism," he said. "We are told that art should conceal 
itself. But I was treating you rather as a critic of my 
work, which does not profess to be a close transcript from 
life, though of course it must be made to look like it. 
What I meant to ask you was whether you don't think 
it is well written." 

"Yes, I suppose so," «aid Pippin, "but I don't under- 
stand much about those things." 

"Well," said Dent, after a pause of reflection, "the 
story did make an impression on you. You said that it 
was wonderful — the career of the musician. That was 
exactly the effect I wished to make on my readers. As 
to how I did it, that is my affair, and I see that you refuse 
to make it yours. You are quite right. It is not the 
business of the reading public to judge of how things are 
done. It should be enough for them that they are done. 
You have pleased me very much by the way you have 
taken it." 

Pippin was relieved to find him so readily pleased, for 
he had seemed to be invited to a higher degree of appre- 
ciation than he had actually expressed. "I suppose you 
must go through a very difficult training for writing as 
well as for music," he hazarded. 

"You go through hell," said Dent quite cheerfully. 


"You will never be much good at any art unless you de- 
scend sometimes into the depths. I have tried to express 
that in my little story. We artists are not as other men. 
Our rewards are greater, but our pains are greater too* 
I would not change my lot in life, uncongenial as much 
of it is at present, for the even prosperity and content- 
ment that is yours. Yet yours is a good life too, and as 
you were born without the creative instinct to urge you 
on, perhaps you may be thankful for it." 

"It isn't only artists who go through hell, as you ex- 
press it," said Pippin. "My own experience — " 

He broke off. Dent was not the man to whom he could 
unburden himself. He might have been interested in his 
story, but probably only as material for making one of 
his own. "Let us go and walk by the sea," he said instead. 

Pippin heard the great man play, and by a special 
favour was introduced to him afterwards, by Dent, who 
pointed out the advantage of being able to tell his grand- 
children in after years that he had shaken hands with a 
very great man. Dent had a great love of music, though 
no skill in it himself, and his attitude of reverence towards 
his master was at its height when he was under the 
influence of his wonderful playing. He sat by Pippin's 
side during the recital, and breathed constant amazement, 
and gratitude for the treat he was enjoying. Pippin was 
also amazed at the miraculous skill of the performance, 
which was unlike anything he had ever heard before, but 
he was unable to disengage his opinion of the artist from 
that 'of the man, who was quite unlike the musician in 
Dent's story. He was short and stout, and it was aston- 
ishing that such strength and delicacy of touch could be 
produced from those pudgy fingers. There was an air of 


great self-satisfaction about him, and his highest moments 
appeared to be those in which he was receiving the plaudits 
of the audience, which he did with gestures that reminded 
Pippin of the Signor Franginelli. 

He received Pippin graciously, and asked him imme* 
diately what he had thought of his playing. Pippin stam- 
mered out some words of appreciation which seemed to 
satisfy him, and then he turned eagerly to an official who 
had come to give him an account of the money that had 
been earned by the sale of seats. The result did not please 
him, and Dent quickly drew Pippin away. 

"Money and applause!" said Dent scornfully. "They 
are the curse of all great artists. Baffy will be in a 
very bad temper to-morrow, and the fact that he played 
divinely to-night will not soften it. I am glad that he 
wants me for nothing to-night. Before we go to bed I 
should like to read you one or two more little things I 
have written. I believe you will like them." 



Pippin stayed a few days longer in this sea-side town 
after his friend Dent had left it to prepare the way 
for his employer elsewhere. He found the life of it very 
pleasant, but it was a holiday life, and it was not precisely 
a holiday for which he had left his home. The money 
his father had given him was not enough for that, and 
it was disappearing at a remarkable rate, although he 
was committing no particular extravagances. If he had 
kept what he had earned during his few weeks with the 
circus he would have had enough upon which to enjoy 
himself here some time longer; but those earnings had 
been expended upon Ben, and he did not regret them. 
Ben had been bought for money from a man who had 
seen in him only a valuable dog. Pippin would no more 
have sold him than if he had been a human. Friends 
are not sold for money. 

Ben was in the way of enjoying every phase of life 
in which his master was concerned, but he enjoyed some 
more than others, and when they took the road again 
together it was with his ecstatic approval. 

"Now we are going to have some real fun once more, 

and we shall be everything to each other. All these people 

you have been making friends with have treated me with 

great amiability, and of course I have responded, because 

anybody that is good enough for you is good enough 

for me. But to be perfectly candid with you they bore 



me, and I think you are inclined to depend too much 
upon them. I can give you all you want in the way of 
companionship, and if you ever regret trusting yourself 
to me, I'm a bandy-legged German dachshund, and not a 
fine upstanding English retriever." 

They walked along the sea-front very early on a fine 
sparkling morning. There was scarcely any one about. 
The holiday-makers would be sleeping for some hours 
longer; their windows were curtained and blinded, and 
it was too early yet even for those who prepared the scene 
for their daily pleasure to have set about it. The fishing- 
boats were putting out from the harbour at the end of 
the town, but the pleasure-boats lay on the beach, and 
only the sea-birds were busy over the long stretch of 
shore below the railed masonry of the promenade. Pres- 
ently Pippin left the pavement and walked on the hard 
sand uncovered by the tide, while Ben careered over it 
far and wide, always in search of something and forget- 
ting what it was when he had started in chase of it. 

On the sands by the rocks and the long sea-ripples 
Pippin seemed already to have recovered the freedom that 
is not to be found in towns, though the town stretched 
away for another mile on his right hand. However ovei> 
grown a sea-side town may become it must stop short 
at the line claimed by the water. Beyond that there is 
space and freedom, not altered from the time before 
a brick of it was laid or a human foot trod its brink. 
So they are wise who take their refreshment from the sea- 
side, however they may crowd themselves behind it. As 
he walked along the shore Pippin was inclined to Ben's 
opinion, that this setting forth on foot was the real 

-272 PIPPIN 

way to enjoyment, and his spirit rose to it hardly less 
than on his first taking of the road. 

But this day's walk was to be the last he was to enjoy 
for some time. Trouble awaited him, though he was 
far from expecting it in his happy morning mood. 

He kept to the shore all day, walking now upon cand, 
now along rocky shelves, and sometimes upon grass at 
the foot of the cliffs. It was a wild and rugged coast, 
and he passed only one little fishing town huddled in a 
cleft of the rocks, and a few straggling hamlets or groups 
of cottages in the twenty miles or so that he covered 
before the evening. Then his way was barred by a great 
jutting point of rock. He had either to climb up to 
the high ground and leave the shore, or make his way 
round the point among huge tumbled boulders. The tide 
was on the ebb, and he chose to go round, but wished 
later that he had ascended the cliff, for at times he had 
to jump from one rock to the other, and even climb some 
of them, and progress was slow and difficult. Ben thor- 
oughly disliked it, and sometimes hung back whimpering 
and had to be lifted. 

He got round the point at last and saw that after 
a short distance he would be walking on flat rock again ; 
but the great stones were piled up here more closely than 
ever, and he had climbed among them a very little way 
before he slipped and fell heavily. 

He must have struck his head in falling, for he found 
himself coming out of a sort of dream, with Ben licking 
his face and touching him gently with his forefoot to 
arouse him. He was conscious of a dull pain in his leg, 
which became an acute one when he tried to draw it 
from between the rocks in which his foot was caught. 


He soon realized that he had broken it against a low 
stone across which he had fallen; but fortunately he had 
rolled slightly aside, or he would have been lying with 
his broken leg bent over the stone. 

His plight was bad enough even with this small allevia- 
tion. His foot was fast wedged between the two great 
rocks, and he had no power in his broken leg to withdraw 
it. Nor could he get at his boot to unfasten it. With 
great pain after a time he managed to wriggle his body 
so that he could loosen the lace at the top, but that was 
the limit to which he could reach; by no effort, held as 
he was, could he have freed himself, and the effort he 
did make was so painful that he fainted again twice be- 
fore he gave it up. 

But this was not until long after he had fallen, when 
night was coming on, and hopes of rescue were beginning 
to fail him. 

From where he lay he could see, half a mile away, on 
the cliff-top where it was declining towards the shore, 
a low-built cottage with some trees beyond it. It was 
the only house within sight, but he saw no sign of life 
about it except the smoke from its chimney. Whatever 
garden or yard was attached to it must have been on the 
other side, for it was wild ground covered with gorse 
and broom and heather between it and the sea. Many 
times he shouted with the full force of his lungs, even 
after he had long given up hope of being heard at such 
a distance. When he shouted Ben barked. Ben was dis- 
turbed about him, and tried many times to get him to 
rise. Pippin tried to send him off to get help, but the 
poor dog, who would have given his life for him without 
grudging the gift, could not understand him. His mas- 


ter was in trouble; he knew that much; and his place 
was at his side. As the hours wore on he sat on his 
haunches beside him, sometimes licking his face, some- 
times setting up a mournful howl. Every now and then 
he would wander off as if he knew that he ought to be 
doing something. But he would be drawn back again to 
where his beloved master lay so unaccountably, and all 
the quicker if Pippin spoke to encourage him to go on. 
He could only hope that sooner or later his instinct, 
strong enough now to set him in motion, would lead him 
to go further for help. 

Poor Pippin lay helpless on a little patch of wet beach 
between the rocks, his head resting on a stone which 
presently he made softer with his pack. Perhaps he dozed 
a little, or swooned again from the sharp pain in his 
head and the dull pain in his leg, and the fear that came 
upon him when he understood that the tide coming up 
would drown him if no help had come in the meantime. 
For now it was night. The stars were shining in a clear 
sky ; there was no wind, and the murmur of the sea came 
to him gently as if it were still far off. There was a 
light in an upper window of the cottage which he could 
see from where he lay. Oh, if only those who were dwell- 
ing in it in comfort and safety could know of his plight, 
lying there with death so soon to come to him! But 
he was past calling to them now. He knew it was of 
no use, and instinct bade him reserve all his failing 
strength. Ben whimpered beside him at intervals, and 
sometimes left him as at first, but never for long. 

Presently the light in the cottage went out, and he 
was more lonely than he had ever been in his life before. 

But with the extinguishing of hope, a calm of spirit 


descended upon him. Effort was past, and he no longer 
raged against his fate. Cold fear gripped him now and 
again when he thought of death coming to him by the 
creeping waters, but even that thought slipped from him, 
and he lay curiously quiescent in mind, though his body 
was beginning to rack him more sharply than before. 

He thought tenderly of those he was leaving behind 
him, as if bidding them farewell, but was not concerned 
at the life he would miss, though it was sweet to him. 
In that hour the passion he had felt for the girl of 
the circus dropped from him. That had been but a 
passing impulse, though if it had not been torn up it 
might have grown into something permanent. The latter 
days of his life seemed of small account to him now; it 
was his home to which his thoughts winged their way, 
and all the years he had spent within its shelter. His 
brain roamed idly over many little episodes of his child- 
hood and youth, and set before him a thousand pictures. 
His father and mother and his cousin Alison chiefly 
vivified them, but his friends among those who had lived 
about his home flitted in and out of his consciousness too. 
He was so interested in his thoughts that for a time 
they were stronger than the pain he was suffering. 

But the pain was always increasing, and presently his 
thoughts began to wander. When this happened he lost 
account of time. The stars shifted above him, but some- 
times after what had seemed immense periods of time they 
stood in the same place, and sometimes they seemed to 
have taken a leap onwards while he had closed his eyes 
for a second. 

At last he awoke as out of a long quiet dream. The 
sky was light, the sound of the waves was in his ears, 


He was conscious of no pain or distress, and it seemed 
to him only natural that Alison should be coming to- 
wards him with Ben at her side, but Alison not as 
he had last seen her, but as she had been when they 
were boy and girl playing together. He was pleased that 
she had come, and uttered her name, and then fell con- 
tentedly asleep again. 

He awoke to find himself in bed in a low white-washed 
room with a latticed window open towards the sea, which 
he could see sparkling in the sunshine from where he lay. 
He felt greatly at ease, though there was a sense of being 
bound about his head and body. But he did not want to 
stir a muscle or to set his brain working. There were 
people in the room who would do all that was necessary 
for him, either with brain or body — an old woman with 
a gnarled kindly face, and a grizzled man with a medicinal 
scent upon him. There was some low talk, and something 
was given him to swallow, and then once more he fell 

At his second waking memory returned in a flash, and 
it was with no surprise that he saw sitting by the window 
a young girl, with his dog Ben lying at her feet. It 
was she who must have brought rescue to him. She was 
some years younger than Alison, a bud of a girl just 
growing into womanhood, and not much like Her in fea- 
ture; but she had the same sweet frank look, and no 
injustice had been done to his cousin in tne confusion 
of his thought. 

She looked towards the bed and saw his eyes upon 
her, and sprang up with a sudden blush. Ben sprang 
up too, and barked in his excitement, which sent a thrill 
of pain through Pippin's bandaged head. She held the 


dog to prevent his leaping upon his beloved master, now 
restored to him, and went to the door to call the old 
woman. Pippin did not see her again for some days 
after that, and Ben was kept from his room, while he 
made his first conscious painful steps towards recovery. 
These, on account of his youth and health, were unhin- 
dered, though slow, and after some days he was himself 
again, but forced to keep to his bed for the present. 

The doctor came frequently to see him, and liked to 
sit and chat by his bed. He had spent the greater part 
of his life in this sparsely inhabited country, riding an 
incredible number of miles to see his patients in all 
weathers. He was as hard as an oak, but with a soft 
core of heart. He was a bachelor, which was perhaps 
fortunate, for his earnings would hardly have sufficed 
for more than one ; but he seemed to be completely satisfied 
with his lot in life. He lived in a cottage not far from 
where Pippin was lying, kept two horses for his work, 
and when he was not on his rounds made himself com- 
fortable with a pipe and a glass and a book. He saw 
his friends, in one place or another, every day, and 
showed a pride in the welcome he could be sure of, wherever 
he went. He told Pippin a good deal about himself, and 
about the people whom he visited in the farms and cot- 
tages of the wide area which he covered. But he told 
him first how very fortunate he was to find himself lying 
in a soft bed instead of beneath the ground. This was 
on the first occasion that his patient was able to listen 
to any talk, and not for some days after he had been 

"You have your good clever dog to thank for it," he 
said, "and my little friend Lydia, who was waked by him. 


You owe me some thanks too, and the men who carried 
you up the cliff. You were very near to your end, young 
man; there's One above to whom you might put up a word 
of thanks too, if you're old-fashioned enough to believe 
in what you can't see but know well enough is there to 
look after you. I mustn't talk too much now, but you've 
turned the corner, and it won't do you any harm to think 
a little of what you have to be grateful for." 

Mrs. Collinson, the old woman to whose cottage he 
had been brought, was an indefatigable nurse, as long 
as Pippin needed one. She and Lydia, her granddaughter, 
had all the work of their house to do, and also of the 
few acres of land which formed their holding, but the 
doctor told him he could not have been better looked after 
if he had been in a hospital, with nurses about him whose 
only duty was to tend the sick. "The clever doctors 
would turn up their noses at my medical knowledge," he 
said, with a smile or his rugged face, "but there's heart 
as well as brain in doctoring, and it's the same with 
nursing. Nursing is a good test of what a woman is 
worth. Very few men make good nurses, but a woman 
has that power of forgetting herself entirely, and giving 
all she has to her patient. She will go without sleep, 
and has to be driven to eat when she is engaged in fight- 
ing for a life ; and very often the life isn't worth fighting 
for, or the end of it is never in doubt, and she is bound 
to lose in the struggle. But it's all one to her. A woman 
in a sick room is one of the noblest sights on this poor 
earth. But when you have lived on this earth as long 
as I have you will find that there is more of good in 
it than evil, and the lowly places are those in which 
you will find it." 


He treated the old woman with a rough jocularity, 
which did not displease her, though her granddaughter 
sometimes fired up against him on account of it. It was 
clear that he loved both of them, and he would encourage 
the girl in her attack, until her indignation would sub- 
side, and she would laugh and say that he was an old 
bear, but she supposed she must forgive him. 

"These are the sort of people," he told Pippin, "who 
give you a good opinion of your fellow-creatures. You 
find them more often among the poor than among the 
rich, though among the few rich I have known in my 
life I have found good people too, but only those who 
sit light to their riches. I suppose that's what the Good 
Book means by being poor in spirit. I knew this old 
lady here when she was a young married woman, with 
a husband who wasn't much good to her or to anybody 
else. She had a son who was worse still, and she lived 
through years of trouble with both of them, and never 
complained. Now she has come out into tranquillity 
towards the end of her life, and well she deserves it. 
My little friend Lydia is the daughter of a bad man and 
a bad woman, if you can say that anybody is really 
bad; but the badness has skipped her. She has been 
with her grandmother, luckily for her, ever since she was 
a baby, and a comfort to her for all the evils of her 
earlier life. She'll grow up into a great prize for some 
man or other, but it's quite likely that she'll give herself 
to somebody who isn't worthy of her, and have a life of 
trouble like her grandmother. That's often the way of 
it; but if a sensible young man came along who could 
judge of a real treasure when he saw one, he could save 


her from that and do himself a good turn into the bar- 

* 99 


Pippin imagined himself invited to declare himself as 
that young man; but Lydia was still a child in his eyes* 
and he had no inclination towards her except as a child 
friend. But on that plane he loved her. She would keep 
him company while he still lay in bed helpless, and talk 
to him brightly about all the little events and interests 
of her life, and particulary about the great event that 
had come into it of her finding him insensible among the 
rocks, with the waters surging very near to his destruction. 

"I don't know how long Ben had been barking out- 
side," she said. "Granny and I sleep very soundly, for 
we have a great deal to do in the day ; and she is rather 
deaf besides. So she never heard him at all, but I did 
seem to have been hearing him for a long time before he 
woke me up at last, and I got up and went to the window- 
He was so excited at seeing me, the dear dog, and he 
seemed to be telling me to make haste and come with 

"I had tried to make him understand that he must go 
and find help," Pippin said; "but he would never go far 
from me. What made him understand at last?" 

"Doctor says it was God who called him," said Lydia 
simply. "Doctor is a very good man, and I believe what 
he says. Don't you?" 

"Yes, I do," said Pippin seriously. "I haven't thought 
enough about these things ." 

"Doctor says this will make you think more about 
them," said Lydia with a smile; "and me too. He says 
that like all young girls I am too giddy. But I think 
he loves me all the same, and I love him. When I got 


outside the door, Ben took hold of my .skirt in his teeth 
and dragged me, didn't you, Ben?" 

Ben, who was lying between her and Pippin, moved 
his tail sleepily. Somthing had happened which it was 
too much trouble to remember. If they liked to go on 
talking about it, well and good. It seemed that human 
beings must always be talking about something or other, 
but a dog's way was to do what had to be done and 
then forget all about it. What had to be done now 
was to go to sleep, unless they particularly wanted him 
for anything. In this he did not include talk, for which 
for the moment he was disinclined, though if he were 
addressed it was only polite to take notice of it, 

"I couldn't go fast enough for him," said Lydia. "He 
ran on in front and then came back and dragged me 
again. Then he ran off among the rocks to where you 
were lying. Oh, how dreadful it was to see you lying 
there! And the tide only a very little way off then! 
I hardly thought I should be able to get help in time. 
How I ran up the cliff! It was like as if it was level 

She had moved the stone across which he had fallen 
to support his head above the water, which was licking 
all round his body when she returned with two men from 
a cottage hard by, and the doctor. 

"Doctor cut off your boot," she said. "I believe it's 
still there between the rocks. Your poor leg was all 
swelled up. Oh, it was only just in time that Ben fetched 

A close call, indeed! Pippin had much to think about 
after he had heard the full story of his rescue. 



Mrs. Collikson's cottage was the only one that could 
be seen from the spot where Pippin had lain among the 
rocks of the sea shore, but there was a little group of 
them near by. The doctor's was the dwelling of a five 
acre farm, and there were other farmhouses scattered 
about the sparsely cultivated country which had been re- 
claimed from the moorland, but no house for some miles 
with any pretensions to a higher state of gentility. The 
parish church was four miles away, and was almost un- 
known to the inhabitants of this outlying settlement. 
They had a little stone-built chapel of their own, with 
no regular minister, where, however, no Sunday passed 
without a service of religion at which the bulk of the 
scattered community assembled. It was usually con- 
ducted by an old farmer who had founded a Sunday School 
for the children of this place many years before, and 
had a simple skill in expounding the Scriptures. But he 
was too diffident of himself to undertake the preaching 
of a sermon, and English-speaking people love a sermon. 
This was sometimes supplied by an itinerant preacher, 
but the great occasions were when the doctor announced 
himself prepared with a discourse. 

This happened two or three times in the year when 
something had occurred to lift the little community out 
of the rut of its even life, and expectation ran high of 
the line he would take about it. A death would some- 



times send him into the pulpit, and not always with an 
encomium on the departed. A marriage was almost sure 
to do so, for he loved young people, and liked to see 
two of them settling down together in the world, and 
to give them advice on how to make the best of one an- 
other. He would sometimes address them when a child 
had been born. He was great upon the care and training 
of young children, and much sound advice was given 
in these discourses upon medical as well as moral grounds. 
He hated slander and backbiting, to which small com- 
munities are more than usually liable. Whenever he an- 
nounced himself for an address when no particular event 
had occurred, this was pretty sure to be his subject. 
Those who were prone to ill-natured tittle-tattle feared 
the lash of his tongue, and he had been known to point 
a finger at a member of his congregation, and to repeat 
uncharitable words that had come to his ears. He never 
touched upon doctrine, and indeed a searching criticism 
might have failed to find anything specifically Christian 
in his sermons. But he always based them upon a text 
of Scripture, which completely satisfied his hearers upon 
their orthodoxy; and a simple spirit of piety shone 
through them which touched their hearts. 

Pippin's first outing was when he hobbled slowly on a 
pair of crutches to an evening service at the little chapel. 
The Doctor was to preach, and it was known to all the 
congregation that he would preach upon Pippin's rescue 
from imminent death. Lydia had told Pippin that this 
would be so, but he had not quite realized the pointed 
application of the speaker's method, or he might have 
hesitated to put himself into a position of such promi- 
nence. The Doctor, however, had told him that he was 


well enough now to return public thanks to Almighty God 
for the mercy that had been vouchsafed him, and would 
not have allowed him to stay away. 

There was hardly a man, woman or child of the little 
community who did not come to the chapel that evening. 
Its narrow benches were full. The singing of hymns, 
usually with some metaphor drawn from the sea or the 
soil, and man's work thereon, or from warfare, in which 
his religious life should be spent, was undertaken very 
heartily. The old farmer conducted the service up to the 
time for the sermon, and Pippin had time to look around 
him at the people who were gathered here. 

He knew many of them by this time, for he had re- 
ceived visits during his convalescence, sitting in the tiny 
parlour of the cottage, or outside in sight of the sea. 
And the rest he knew about, for the old woman and the 
young girl had both plied him with tales of their neigh- 
bours, and the doctor had talked to him about his flock 
too. It was natural to think of them as his flock as 
well as his patients, in this place, and he had undoubtedly 
stamped his impression upon them. He was their superior 
in many ways, but he was also their equal. He was friend 
to all of them, and lived his life among them of free 

There were a few farmers and their families, and the 
rest were humble folk who drew their living either from 
the fields or from the sea. He had welded them all into 
a unity, which was somehow apparent even to Pippin 
as he looked around him. They were one large family 
into the bosom of which he had been taken, and his heart 
warmed towards them. 

It was a still, cloudless evening, and the sun sending 


its level rays through the high window behind the pulpit 
mads a mild halo of the doctor's grey hair as he stood 
up to preach, while all the crowded congregation settled 
themselves to listen to him. 

His text was : "Yet the dogs under the table eat of the 
children's crumbs," and there was a ripple of anticipation, 
as his hearers waited for what he would make out of that, 
and a few broad smiles were to be seen on the faces of 
those more alert who guessed that Ben was to receive 
his meed of praise for the rescue he was known to have 

So it was. The preacher extolled the love and faith- 
fulness of an animal often held up in the Bible as a type 
of all that was vile, though he made it clear to those 
unaware of the fact that the pariah dog of the East was 
a very different animal from the one that had earned the 
name of the friend of man in our civilization, Ben — he 
mentioned him more than once by name — had kept by his 
master, lying in peril of death, all night long. He had 
known no better. "It isn't always the cleverest people, 
you know, that are the most loving." And then at last 
the love he was full of had bade him do something that 
it wasn't altogether natural to him to do. Or if they 
preferred it, it had been put into the dog's limited mind 
to do what was necessary. He preferred that explana- 
tion himself. If it was said that such a thing would be 
something like a miracle, he still preferred it. If it was 
said that miracles don't happen nowadays, very well! 
"You keep your opinion and I'll keep mine." 

He returned to the qualities of the dog as they were 
known to all of his hearers, and told them anecdotes to 
illustrate his faithfulness, obedience, self-sacrifice and un- 


questioning devotion to those whom he recognized as hav- 
ing a right to it. 

Then he broke off and gave a vivid picture of a young 
man in the full tide of life lying all night long helpless 
and in pain, with death coming to him with the return 
of morning. Pippin felt rather uncomfortable as he was 
thus made the hero of a realistic story, not in all points 
squaring with the facts upon which it was based, and 
had to receive stares of pleased recognition from the 
younger children and sidelong looks from their elders. 
But his discomfort was mixed with gratification. Cer- 
tainly he had passed through a very interesting adventure, 
and could not himself have told it half so well. He was 
more moved by the preacher's account of his perils than 
he had been at any time by the thought of them since 
they had come to an end. 

This passage broke off too, with a somewhat damping 
reminder that folly and carelessness often led people 
into positions in which they couldn't help themselves and 
had to be helped by others. So far it had only been 
material to which some moral might be applied, though 
none had as yet shaped itself which could bring the two 
strands of the discourse together. But the preacher had 
kept the attention of his hearers, who had followed him 
with all their eyes and ears. 

"Well then, what has all this talk of dogs, and a young 
man breaking his leg on the rocks, to do with religion, 
which we come here to think about, and to try to fol- 
low? We all love talking about our dogs at any time, 
and though we are pleased to see our young friend about 
again we haven't come here to tell him so. We come 


here to worship God, and to learn something more about 
Him if we can/' 

The dogs eat of the crumbs. The most debased crea- 
tures known to the world at the time those words were 
spoken have something given to them; still more the 
much higher animal which the dog is as he is known to 
us. They have gifts given to them which countless human 
beings, who really desire the best sort of gifts, never 
seem to attain to, "Show me the man or woman or child 
whose love is as unselfish as a dog's, or whose readiness 
to give service is as great, and I'll show you one of the 
best and most lovable of God's creatures. And yet those 
are only the crumbs of God's mercy. Let us think for 
a moment what the full feast is like." 

So he held up before them the Christian virtues, or 
such of them as most appealed to him, and gave them 
something of a fresh application which struck home. 

Then he turned to Pippin again, and made them smile 
by his description of what had been given to him as a 
special titbit, "as it might be one of you fathers putting 
something from his own plate into the mouth of his 
child." The child would love its father, wouldn't it? for 
giving it something that he might have kept to himself. 
Children are sometimes greedy, and they take the love 
of their parents as a matter of course. But they do give 
some return for it. Even to a child the father's love 
would be more than the dainty it was swallowing. Pippin 
was exhorted not to swallow his special titbit from the 
rich feast without thinking of the Father who had given 
it to him, and making some return. "Don't bolt it down, 
lad !" said the preacher with immense emphasis. 



This personal adjuration, which came just before the 
ending of the sermon, was less gratifying to Pippin's 
youthful vanity than the notice he had received earlier, 
but it made an impression upon him which subdued his 
self-esteem. The service came to an end, and the con- 
gregation, after lingering for a time outside the little 
chapel, went their several ways home. Pippin hobbled on 
his crutches through a field of ripening corn, with the sea 
in front of him, calm and still in the evening sunlight. 
The soberness of spirit which had come upon him melted 
into a sense of peace and well-being. He felt happy and 
clean of mind, which was perhaps the best answer he 
could have given to the appeal that had been made to him. 

For some weeks Pippin had perforce to live a life of 
idleness, and in the meantime his small stock of money, 
much depleted by his recent sojourn in the sea-side town, 
was fast melting away to nothing. The doctor had ar- 
ranged on his behalf what he was to pay Mrs. Collinson 
for his bed and board. It was little enough, though in 
her penury it was a help to her ; but he would not be able 
to pay it for more than a few weeks longer, and however 
little the doctor should charge him for his unremitting at- 
tention he would have nothing with which to pay that. 

This began to worry him. Should he write home for 
money? No. The undertaking had been that if he 
wanted money above what he had received, he must earn it 
for himself, and he felt himself bound by it. But how 
could he earn money without getting about? At last he 
put his difficulty to the doctor. 

"Well," said that friend of his, when he had heard him 
out, "it would be easy enough for me to forgive you what 
you owe me ; but I have to live, and if I don't take pay- 


ment from you for the work I have done for you, I must 
be a little harder on those whom I might want to let off 
some of their debt. And of course you must pay the old 
lady here for as long as you stay with her. If you can't 
earn money for yourself, you will have to apply to your 
parents for it. That much seems clear." 

Pippin agreed to this, though he thought it might 
have been more sympathetically put. He was inclined to 
pride himself upon keeping to the strict letter of the 
understanding with his father, but the doctor seemed to 
take small interest in that, and asked him no questions 
about it. "Have you thought of anything you might do 
while you are laid up?" he asked him. 

"The only thing I can think of is to make fishing nets," 
said Pippin, "Lydia has taught me how to do it, but I 
have told her that I will help her with the net she is 
making when she isn't working at it herself." 

Net-making was the industry which most of the women 
and some of the men of this little community worked at 
in their spare time. It was not very well paid, but the 
extra money it brought in was welcome to supplement the 
low rate of wages that prevailed here. With Lydia and 
her grandmother it provided nearly all the actual money 
they had to spend. Mrs. Collinson's house and her few 
acres were her own, but it was all she had. 

"That's all very well," said the doctor, not in his most 
accommodating mood on this morning. "If you were a 
young gentleman of fortune it would be a graceful thing 
to throw in that amount of help in addition to what you 
are paying them, and no doubt Lydia thinks it is a very 
noble thing of you to do, and is absurdly grateful for it. 
But I'm afraid you'll have to forego the pleasure of work- 


ing for her for nothing, as it is necessary for you to work 
in order to pay them for what you get from them." 

Pippin felt a strong resentment at this way of putting 
it. There was enough truth in the charge to make it 
rankle. "I'm quite ready to do that," he said, in the 
swift offence of youth at age trampling upon its sensi- 
bilities. "It is I who suggested it, if you'll remember. 
But I didn't know that I might not be spoiling their mar- 
ket if I competed with them. In fact I know very little 
about it, and I came to you for advice." 

"Well, you've come to the right quarter," said the 
doctor, with a quizzical glance at him. "No need to take 
offence at my plain-speaking. It's my way, and you 
must put up with it, as all the rest of them do. You 
won't be competing with anybody, for there's a practically 
unlimited market and the price is fixed. All you will 
have to do is to buy your needle and your mesh-pin and 
your stock of twine and rope. I suppose you have 
enough money left for that, and if not I shall be glad 
to lend you what is necessary. You'll have to work long 
hours at it, so as to do what a machine will do in as many 
minutes. That's the curse of machine invention. Handi- 
craft is always better, but they won't pay much more 
for it. Still, you can make your living by this, young 
man, and a bit over, and I'm glad you first thought of 
doing it. Lydia won't think any the worse of you, I'll 
promise you." 

This was rather too much in the line of the doctor's 
evident desires for his young favourite to remove alto- 
gether the rub of his previous roughness. Pippin and 
Lydia were now close friends, but his mind was quite 
empty of any feeling but that of elder brotherly affection 


for her. Even the passion he had so lately felt for the 
girl of the circus had left him, washed away, as it seemed, 
by the crisis through which he had passed. He could 
think of her without pain and without desire; but he 
thought about her as little as possible, content to have 
found this quiet resting-place for a time, and not yet in 
the way of planning anything for the day when he would 
be ready to leave it. He did not suppose that Lydia's 
feeling for him was any different from his for her, and 
the doctor's little promptings and guidings, which were 
so obvious, though he thought them skilfully wrapped up, 
were something of an irritation to him. He and Lydia 
understood one another perfectly, and of course she 
would not think the worse of him for setting about the 
breading of nets, as they called it in that country, for 
his temporary support. 

She did not, but commended him for his noble inde- 
pendence of character, since, as he told her, money was 
his for the asking, if he cared to ask for it, and he need 
not be plying his needle all day long and making his 
fingers sore and tarry for the pittance he earned by it. 
But she thought he ought to write to his parents and tell 
them about the escape he had had ; and he might perhaps 
like to say that he was happy and comfortable where he 
was, which could only relieve their minds about him. 

But no, he wouldn't do that. She didn't know his 
father, who had sent him out into the world on an idea 
of his own. A year would soon pass, and it would be 
time enough then to hear the tale of all his adventures. 
His father didn't want letters from him. 

But his mother! Didn't she want to hear from him, 
Lydia asked. 


He gave her to understand that his father's word was 
law in his home. Both his mother and he accepted it 
when it was given, but it was rare for him to give it 
against their wishes. When he did so, it was not to be 

Lydia laughed at that, but not with merriment. 
"Granny and I don't hang upon the words of any man," 
she said. 

"What about the doctor?" asked Pippin. 

"Oh, we like to please him," she said; "and perhaps if 
a man — " She broke off. She had been going to say 
that if allegiance was owing to a man it might not be 
difficult to bow to his will without question. But her 
thought would not have found precisely that expression, 
and there were other reasons why she did not give it 
further utterance. "Is there nobody else at your home, 
who would like to hear about you before the year is up?** 
she asked ; and Pippin replied that at his home there were 
only his father and his mother and himself. 

It was not then, but a few days later, that she asked 
him suddenly: "What was the name you called out when 
I found you lying among the rocks? Who did you think 
I was?" 

He was confused. He very dimly remembered her find- 
ing him. Was it possible that he had been thinking of 
Rosie Schwenck at that moment which but for Lydia would 
have been very near his last, and had called her name? 
"I don't know," he said. "I don't remember calling any- 
body's name." 

"I think it was Alice." She was not going to let him 
off. "It sounded like that. It was just as if you recog- 
nized me." 


His face cleared. "Alison ?" he said. "I might have 
thought you were Alison, though she is older than you. 
She is my cousin who lives near us. Did I really call 
her name?" 

Then she wanted to know all about Alison, and particu- 
larly her age, and how long they had known each other. 

"She is a year younger than I am," Pippin told her. 
"We have always known each other. She wasn't alto- 
gether unlike you when she was your age. She was the 
last person I saw when I left home." 

She wanted to know all about that, and plied him with 
questions about the childhood and youth they had spent 
together. He was nothing loth to talk to her about 
Alison. His home was fair to him now, and all the life 
he had lived there, in which Alison had played a large 
part. This was when he had been working at his net- 
making for some time, and before he had begun to walk 
without a crutch. It was well to be working for his liv- 
ing, and his mind was at ease on that account. But it 
meant long hours of labour for small pay, and the days 
were becoming montonous. It would have been very pleas- 
ant to be getting over his accident surrounded by the 
comforts of his home; and though he loved this little 
Lydia, for all her goodness, and her unselfish attentions 
to him, she was no substitute for Alison, with whom he 
could discuss everything that came into his mind with the 
certainty of her understanding him, and to whom he had 
so much to tell now that he did not know how he could 
put off the telling of it for many months longer. 

But this happened not until his leg was nearly strong 
enough for him to walk unsupported. For a long time he 
was happy and content to be where he was, and adapted 


himself with gratitude and interest to the life into which 
he had received so kind a welcome. 

It was the cottager's life, always near to poverty, in 
which every penny was counted, and the rule of life was, 
What can I do without? rather than, What can I get? 
For there was little to be got from any source beyond 
what would supply necessities, and the only way to keep 
a free mind was to reduce those as far as was possible. The 
advantage of this was that it so increased the number of 
luxuries to be enjoyed; for the lower the line was drawn 
the more there was above it. The doctor propounded this 
theory to him, when he showed himself anxious that Pippin 
should not put a strain upon the resources of the old 
woman who was doing all she could for him. He spoke 
plainly about this. "You wouldn't do it on purpose, I 
know," he said ; "but poor people, as most of us here are, 
don't and can't live in the way you and I are accustomed 
to, though certainly I and perhaps you would call our way 
of living simple enough. You must watch out for what 
seems necessary to you but isn't to them, and do without 
it, not letting them know that you miss it. For there's a 
true pride of poverty as well as a false one. This old 
lady wouldn't mind going without anything herself, but 
it would hurt her if she thought you were missing some- 

Pippin said that he was careful about this, and admired 
the courageous way in which the old lady faced her 

"Oh, you needn't pity her," said the doctor, although it 
was admiration and not pity that Pippin had expressed. 
"There's a lot of fun to be got out of poverty, if it'a 
not too grinding. It isn't the poor people who get tired 


of life. It's the rich people, to whom everything comes 
so easily that there's no savour in it. The more you 
can do without the more you enjoy what you get. If 
you are used to bread and butter and jam every day you 
don't think it much of a treat. If you can only afford 
bread and butter, whenever you get jam it is a treat. If 
you can only afford bread, it doubles the treat to have 
all three sometimes. And if you can never be sure of get- 
ting enough bread, the bread itself is a treat when you do 
get it. Besides, poverty is a better soil for the virtues 
to grow in than wealth. It won't do you any harm, as 
long as you stay here, to notice how many of our old 
friend's virtues grow out of her poverty. You will learn 
something about life in that way that you may not have an 
opportunity of learning again." 



Foe some weeks Pippin lived the life of one of the poorer 
sort of workers in this place, while the summer came to 
its full and waned towards the fall. And he was happy 
in it. 

Man is an adaptable creature, and if deprived of some- 
thing which curtails his powers or opportunities makes 
good shift without it. The patience and contentment of 
the blind are well known; a man who has lost a limb is 
usually not less cheerful than if he had four like his 
neighbours ; and even those who are bedridden, though they 
may wish for activity, do not wish for it so ardently and 
continuously as to spoil their relish of what remains to 
them. The deprivation lessens the desire. The old may 
wish themselves young again, but they do not wish for the 
things of youth in their state of age. The sick wish for 
health, but it will only be when health returns to them that 
they will feel again the zest for doing which is proper to 
the state of health. Their desire for the time is chiefly to 
lie still. 

So as long as Pippin was kept to one place, or very near 

it, by his broken leg, his natural desire for movement was 

suspended, and he took satisfaction in what would have 

only irked him if he had been all himself. It was pleasant 

to wake in his tiny room under the eaves, to see the light 

of the sun, hear the murmur of the sea as a sort of 

ground-bass to the homely noises of the birds and animals 



about the cottage farm, and to smell the clean scents of 
the unpolluted country. All these things, to which he 
was accustomed in his own home, meant more to him here, 
since his mind was not occupied immediately upon waking 
with all the activities that had been before him there. 
There was one chief thing before him in the day to which 
he was now awaking — the long hours to be spent in the 
increasing of his net; and somehow he looked forward to 
that task in spite of its monotony. 

He became very skilful at it. After a short time he 
could net a row faster than Lydia. He would time him- 
self, and make calculations of how many rows he could do 
in an hour, in a day, in a week, and how much he could 
earn in a given time. This gave the almost mechanical 
work an added interest, the hours he spent at it slipped 
by, and, by increasing his rate over the reasonable amount 
he had bound himself to do, he gained periods of leisure 
in which he did nothing, or read a book. These periods 
became sweet to him, thrown into relief by the work on 
either side of them, and because he had earned them. And 
the work of his hands left his mind free, also his ears and 
his tongue, if there was any one upon whom to practise 
them. If he had been free to go about, the long hours he 
spent over it would have been irksome to him, but in his 
enforced state of quiescence they had exactly the opposite 
effect ; idleness would have been wearisome, in a way that 
no work is. 

It was very fine nearly the whole time he stayed at this 
place. There were few days in which he could not do 
his work out of doors. Breakfast was always early in 
the cottage, for there was so much to do in the day. It 
was also very frugal, and in spite of his inactivity Pippin 


was often ravenously hungry before the mid-day dinner, 
at which there was always enough for his healthy appetite. 
Mrs. Collinson saw to that, and pressed him to eat as 
much as he could, but he was often ashamed of the extent 
to which he obeyed her. Appetite became a thing not to 
be indulged whenever it made itself felt, and there was. 
some satisfaction in curbing it. That was one lesson he 

The morning hours would go by very pleasantly. The 
sea was always before him as he sat by a bush of tamarisk 
and a hardy fuchsia that grew under the cottage wall. 
There was always something to look at in the sea — the 
fishing boats and the coastal vessels, and sometimes 
farther out a large steamer. The gulls cried about the 
cliffs, or floated out over the ocean, or sat rocking on its 
waves. The cloud shadows and the currents made the 
surface infinitely varied in colour. There were delicious 
tones of green in it, and blue and amethyst and dark 
grape-colour. It was a continual solace to the eye as 
well as an interest to the mind. 

Mrs. Collinson seldom rested from her labours during 
the morning. She was about the house or the garden or 
the little farmyard all the time, as busy as possible. Old 
people used to a life of active work seem to acquire a 
latent store of energy which drives them to incessant 
movement. They cannot idle for a few minutes at a time, 
but must get their rest by relaxing altogether when their 
tasks are done. Lydia seconded her in all her work, but 
her young body was not quite inured to unyielding labour, 
though there was more strength in it than in her grand- 
mother's. The old woman never hurried her to work, 
and she would often come round the corner of the cottage, 


and stand talking to Pippin for a few minutes, or throw 
herself upon the sun-warmed turf, closely nibbled by the 
rabbits which abounded in the rough ground between the 
cottage and the cliff top. 

The big break for all three of them came at dinner time, 
which was at twelve o'clock. The old woman would sit 
awhile after they had finished, her hands in her lap, quite 
still, hardly using any of the muscles in her body. She 
would talk about the interests of her daily life of work, 
about her neighbours, sometimes about incidents of her 
earlier life. There was plenty to talk about. She read 
no newspaper, and had curious notions of the world out- 
side the few square miles of it which her eyes had seen, 
but was interested in everything she heard, and could 
make shrewd comments on it. There was no tedium in 
her life, which was so full of multifarious duties that the 
problem was not to find occupation for the hours, but 
hours for the occupation. And yet there was always time 
to be found if it was a question of help to her neighbours, 
in sickness or in any kind of trouble. Sunday was her 
only day of rest. There was rather more to be done in 
it of necessity than would have made a working day for 
most women ; but by contrast it was a day of leisure, and 
for a few hours in the afternoon and evening she did give 
herself a rest, sitting in her high-backed wooden chair by 
the close-shut window with the prided pot-plants arranged 
along the sill, dressed in her plain black gown, with a little 
black silk apron instead of the white one which she was 
never without at other times, her Sunday cap on her head, 
her old lined face set in a cast of tranquillity. She read 
her Bible, which was the only print she ever read, until 
she nodded under the unwonted influence of the hour, woke 


up, read a little more, and nodded again. Her figure, on 
those hot still Sunday afternoons, always stood after- 
wards for Pippin as the very type and emblem of peace. 
The contrast between that and her usual state of industry 
was as if a continuous loud noise which had been going on 
all the week and to which the ear had accustomed itself, 
should cease and give place to silence for the space of two 
hours. It was almost oppressive. The cheerful clatter 
of teacups which brought it to an end was a welcome relief. 
When they had been cleared away, and a few evening 
duties performed, the relaxation took on another more 
sociable aspect. A vast tract of leisure opened itself out 
before it was time to go to the chapel, a burst of activity 
between the service and supper, and another period of 
leisure until it was time to go to bed, and leisure was at 
an end altogether for six days to come. 

Pippin thought of many things during the hours in 
which he worked at his nets that he would not have 
thought of if he had been leading a more active life, and he 
thought sometimes about old Mrs. Collinson, who showed 
affection for him. She had so little, and yet she had so 
much. It would have been difficult to imagine anybody 
with a life that more filled itself out in every moment. Its 
apparent sameness did away with monotony, for the mi- 
nute changes of occupation varied it in texture, and any 
little change that came into it had the same effect as a big 
change in a life of wider range. He saw hers as an envi- 
able state for one drawing near to the end of life, but not 
yet disabled for its struggles. And he thought that what 
was good for her was good for Lydia. 

Lydia was being trained to the life of labour and en- 
ance which the old woman had battled through, to an 


old age of mental if not bodily tranquillity. But there 
was a long road before her, in which her training might be 
severely tested. She had not yet been tried by its troubles 
and difficulties, which are different for everybody, and 
cannot be foreseen, or guarded against, except by building 
up fortitude with which to meet them as they come. In 
his satisfaction with a transient state of life not natural 
to his youth or circumstances, he saw her as fortunate in 
the beginnings of her life, spared the discontent that 
might have attended a better endowed condition, and with 
nothing lacking at present that she need desire. But 
what he found unexpectedly satisfactory in his present 
mode of life would not satisfy him for long ; he was only 
experimenting with this strenuous work and its modest re- 
ward ; there was another kind of life awaiting him. There 
was none awaiting Lydia, so it was all the more important 
that she should see the advantages of her appointed lot. 
He was inclined to be didactic with her about it, for he 
was very pleased with himself for taking up this life of 
toil, and finding it a good life. It made a philosopher of 
him before his time, and he wanted to pass on the great 
lessons he had learned, to somebody who could profit by 

Lydia would sit by his side on the grass and listen to 
him. She thought him very wise — wonderfully so for one 
of his years — and was glad to know that he was not too 
much burdened by the necessity of working hard for 
his living. But she was not so quick in applying his pre- 
dications to herself as he could have wished. 

"Oh, I know that you have to work, and work very 
hard if you are poor," she said. "You ought not to mind, 
especially if you are working for somebody you love, as I 



love Granny. I shouldn't be happy if I were idle when 
there was work to be done ; but sometimes I wish I could 
have some more holidays,. Does your cousin Alison work 

She was very interested in his cousin, Alison, and asked 
him many questions about her, which he was usually 
pleased to answer. But Alison was not a case in point just 

"She has a good deal to do in her home," he said, "and 
is always diligent and cheerful about doing it. So are 
you, I know. You are very much like her in that way. 
But that isn't what I meant exactly." 

He did not tell her what he did mean exactly, which was 
that he had cast her in his mind for a state of life in which 
there would be more work than was necessary for Alison 
to do. You cannot always say what you mean when you 
are preaching to others for their good, from a position 
superior to theirs. "I am thinking of your grand- 
mother," he said. "She works very hard, and yet she is 
happy in her life." 

Lydia sighed. "I wish she didn't have to work quite so 
hard," she said. "She is getting old, but she must go on 
as long as she can, so that she will have enough when she 
can't work any longer. But when she gets past it I shall 
be able to work for her, so I often tell her not to worry. 
She has always been very good to me, and some day I 
shall be able to do something for her in return." 

Pippin had not enough taken into account the shadow 
that lies over the work of the poor, where it suffices for 
little more than the needs of the moment, and provision 
for a future in which the power to work is failing, or has 
failed altogether, is hard to make. His self-satisfaction 


in his recent discovery was a little pricked. But his mind 
was generous underneath its thin crust of youthful self- 
sufficiency. It adjusted itself to Lydia's outlook upon 
work, which was different from that which he had been 
expounding, though not perhaps less commendable. "It 
makes everything better worth doing if you do it for love 
of somebody else," he said, and Lydia liked this speech 
better than any he had made on the subject, and admired 
him for making it. 

The weeks went by. The time came when Pippin could 
discard his crutch, and walk about with only his stout 
stick for support, though slowly and for short distances at 
first. Ben, who had resigned himself to his inertion, 
spending long hours asleep by his side, and only leaving 
him when he was impelled to obey the call of his nature 
for action, showed himself overjoyed at this revival of 
movement on his master's part. He covered twenty miles 
for Pippin's one, but constantly came back to him as he 
walked slowly along the road to express his pleasure at 
this new discovery of his, that to set yourself in motion 
was so much better than to sit for hours with one leg 
stretched in front of you. Legs were meant to move 
about with. Now wouldn't he just try for once to move it 
at a faster pace? He was sure to enjoy it. Oh, very 
well ! if that crawl was all he felt inclined for, perhaps he 
wouldn't object to his leaving him again for a good 
stretch. "See that sheep looking at us over there? 
Watch me bustle her up." 

When the time came for him to walk, Pippin lost some 
of his interest in the work, the steady pursuit of which had 
so set him up with himself. As long as he could do no 
more than a few yards to and fro he kept to his appointed 


hours of exercise, which he had taken hitherto with his 
crutch. But when he could go faster, it seemed advis- 
able for his health's sake to do so, and to take more time 
for it. By now he had money in hand again, but not yet 
so much as he had decided to take away with him when he 
should be strong enough to renew his journey ings. He 
must not falter in that decision. He had been more con- 
tent to stay and work in this place than he could have 
anticipated, but he did not want to engage himself for 
another period of work for some time to come. He must 
have enough at least to carry him to the great city, and to 
enjoy its sights and pleasures for a time before settling 
to work again. 

But his hours of work steadily decreased. It was de- 
lightful to find his strength coming back to him again, 
and there was so much that he had been hearing about 
which he wanted to see. He had come to know many of 
the people whose social centre was in this hamlet. There 
was this man's stock to be seen, that man's house or gar- 
den or orchard. And all of them made him welcome in 
their homes ; it would have been ungracious to refuse their 
hospitality. And there was the little group of fishermen, 
who lived about an inlet that had been just beyond his 
reach until he could walk without his crutch. When he 
once got over there he found it so interesting that he 
must go often; and as the legs are called upon for less 
exertion in a boat than upon dry land he was able to take 
part in the fascinating pursuit of sea-fishing before he 
could use them much for other purposes. The fishing was 
often done at night, and then he would sleep on in the 
morning. Mrs. Collinson and Lydia had been sometimes 
up for hours by the time he settled himself to his net. 


But the old woman would never consent to wake him. It 
was good for young people to sleep, she said, and when 
there was no work that they need do let them sleep as long 
as they liked. She could never be brought to take Pip- 
pin's net-making very seriously. 

Nor apparently did the doctor. Pippin would often 
spend an hour with him in the evening in his untidy but 
comfortable room, which smelt of tobacco and a little of 
medicaments. He had been rather afraid of him at first, 
for in spite of the unceasing attention he had paid him 
over his mishap the doctor had seemed to lose no op- 
portunity of making him small in his own eyes. But Pip- 
pin was at heart a modest youth, and had lately dis- 
covered a few things in himself that wanted altering ; and 
he knew somehow that the doctor was fond of him. More- 
over he was not so constituted as to sit meekly under re- 
buke and then go away and bear resentment. He held 
his own with the doctor, and they got on very well to- 

"I should think you must have made enough money for 
the present," said the doctor, when Pippin half apolo- 
gized for taking so much time from his work. "You have 
stuck to it well enough while you couldn't do anything 
else, and I am sure you have given us all a lesson. But 
if you have left home, as you tell me, for the sake of see- 
ing all the life you can, you'll see more of it by going about 
among your neighbours here than by sitting still. Be- 
sides, you ought to exercise your leg, and get your muscles 
stronger by degrees ." 

So Pippin felt himself absolved, though he could not 
disguise from himself that he was not carrying out his 
original intention. But he forgave himself that. It did 


not seem so necessary now to preach the gospel of work 
in this place, and to show a shining example of his 

Very soon after he began to get about again the idea of 
continuing his journey came to him. He had not given 
it much thought since his accident. He was well enough 
off where he was for the present, and could not have 
moved for some time if he had wanted to. But with re- 
turning strength came the desire to move on, and it was 
not long before he decided upon the time for his departure. 
When he had once done that he wanted the day hastened. 
He was restless now. He had stayed for too long in one 
place. It would be good to be on the road again. 

He took supper with the doctor on the last evening, and 
they talked together very amicably afterwards. The 
doctor must have seen that a close tie between him and 
the child he loved was not to be hoped for, and had given 
up trying to influence him in that direction. On this last 
evening he showed nothing but liking for him, mixed with 
no disapproval. 

"I don't suppose we shall ever meet again," he said. 
"We live at opposite ends of the country, and we are not 
of the sort of people who are always running about it. 
But I shan't forget you, and there are many of the friends 
you have made here of whom the same may he said. I 
hope that will always be a pleasant recollection to you. 
When you have once got to know people you never quite 
lose them, even people you never see again. They make 
a mark on your life." 

They were standing under the porch of the doctor's 
house underneath a sky of bright stars. "The time I 


have spent here has made a mark on mine," Pippin spoke 
up. "You have taught me a good deal, for one." 

The doctor blew his nose. "I talk a great deal," he 
said drily. "It would be a pity if some one didn't learn 
something from it all." Then he wrung Pippin's hand 
very warmly, and went indoors. 

Pippin walked home, with Ben at his heels, and walked 
slowly, for he was suddenly regretful to be leaving this 
place which had been his home now for many weeks back. 
He had formed ties in it, which he was upon the point of 
breaking. The life in it would go on, though he would 
not be there to mix with it. In the stillness of the night 
the place itself seemed to possess a personality and an 
abiding life of its own. It was a solacing thought that 
he would leave memories behind him, as well as take them 
away with him. For some years at least he would count 
for something here in the thoughts of those he was to 

The cottage was dark as he came to it. He went on to 
the cliff -top and looked over the sea, and down towards 
the rocks where he had lain in suffering ; but that was now 
so long ago and he had become so completely restored that 
he hardly seemed to have been the same person. 

It was what had happened since that aroused his 
emotions — the serenity of convalescence, the peace of the 
long quiet summer days, his participation in the simple 
life of the cottage, the companionships, the community 
of pursuits. Yet he had been happy here, certainly as 
happy as at any time since he had left his home. Yet 
there had been nothing to excite him to pleasure, for some 
time he had been in pain and discomfort, and for some 


time longer he had been at work, more arduously than at 
any time in his life. For the moment, at least, he would 
rather have stayed here than gone away. 

But he arose very early the next morning with pleasur- 
able anticipations of his journey, and whistled to himself 
as he made his preparations in the little whitewashed 
room under the eaves that had been his for so long. 
Early as he was, Mrs. Collinson and Lydia were up before 
him. Lydia often sang over her work in these early 
morning hours, as he whistled, but she was not singing this 
morning. She gave him bright welcome as he clattered 
down the narrow stairs into the kitchen, and her grand- 
mother did the same, bending over a savoury stew upon 
the fire ; for he was to eat heartily to support him on his 
journey, and if she was sorry to be losing him she could 
best express her regret by generous treatment of his 
last moments. 

They came to the door with him and he kissed them both 
good-bye, the old woman because she had been so kind to 
him, and the girl for much the same reason. He turned 
once to look back and wave to them, still standing in the 
doorway, and when he was out of sight they both went 
back to the work which had seemed to him so good 
for them. 



It was on a dull evening of lowering clouds and a chilly 
wind that Pippin came to the great city. He had walked 
all day along on a wide high-road that passed through 
neither town nor country, and though now he was among 
streets of houses he was still only on the outskirts. But 
he was tired and hungry, and in a mood of depression. 
He would find an inn and rest here for the night. The 
sun might shine again on the morrow, and his first view 
of the glories of the city, of which this mean crowded 
neighbourhood gave small promise, would be taken with 
happier effect. 

But he was beginning to doubt whether the glories of 
the city were as he had once imagined them. He had seen 
large towns, travelling with the circus, and upon his 
steady tramp from the quiet place in which he had said 
good-bye to the summer, and they had pleased him very 
much less than the small ones. Nothing that was to be 
seen in the way of fine buildings, of great shows in shop 
windows, of the gay and splendid life of the rich, which in 
any case he must see from the outside, was likely to make 
up for the sensation of loneliness, which always attended 
him when he walked among a crowd of people, all strangers 
to him. 

He felt more lonely than ever as he trod the hard pave- 
ments on this last evening of his journey, with Ben keeping 

close to his heels, an unhappy dog if ever there was one, 



not understanding at all what these strange legs all about 
him could mean, but knowing well that no whiff of friend- 
ship could be expected from any pair of them. Pippin 
had taken the light pack from his shoulders, and carried 
it on his arm, so as to make himself less conspicuous 
among all the city dwellers. But his unlikeness to them 
was still so marked that there was hardly one of all those 
he passed who did not look at him with curiosity; and 
there were some who jeered at his country look and his 
worn country clothes. For your town dweller is apt to 
think of himself as on the pinnacle of civilization, and to 
find impertinence in those who do not conform to his 
standards. In his ignorance of the ways of the city, 
Pippin had an increase of dejection at their taunts, 
though there were not many of those who uttered them 
who seemed to have much upon which to pride themselves 
that was lacking in him. In his rough homespuns he 
strode along the pavements with the lustihood of youth, 
health, and practised muscles. Though he was at the 
end of a long day's tramp, he could still have out- 
walked any of those who expressed their contempt for 

Pippin had slept in inns good and bad, large and small, 
during his last fortnight's walking, sometimes in cottages, 
and once in a barn. But here there seemed to be nothing 
that would provide him with a supper and a bed. The 
inns seemed to have ceased with the closing in on him 
of the streets. There were only large and resplendent 
public-houses, and some smaller ones, none of which, how- 
ever, approached his idea of an inn for rest and refresh- 
ment for travellers. Men went in and out of them, and 
women too, but only to drink, and perhaps to talk. He 


walked for a mile between the shops and houses before 
he could make up his mind to enter one of them. 

He chose it because there was a notice up of beds to be 
let. It was a large elaborately bedecked corner house 
with lights blazing about its windows ; for dusk was com- 
ing on now, and an impression of cheerfulness and welcome 
must be created at the earliest opportunity. 

He pushed open a swinging door and found himself in 
a large brightly lit bar-room, with people sitting on plush- 
covered benches under the windows, or standing before the 
bar, drinking, smoking, and for the most part arguing. 
The air was stale and heavy, in spite of the height of the 
room, the garish lights seemed dimmed by the haze of 
smoke. Behind the bar with all its apparatus for the serv- 
ing of liquors stood a large commanding woman dressed 
in tightly fitting black with a wonderful pile of braided 
auburn hair on her head, and a face emboldened to the 
personation of youth by a lavish application of powder 
and pigments. She was engaged in high-voiced contest 
of wit with two flashy-looking men who stood with their 
glasses on the counter. All of them broke off to stare 
in amazement at Pippin coming up to them with Ben at 
his heels, and indeed there was a lull in the general clatter 
of talk at so unusual an appearance. But it started 
again almost immediately. Most of those present had 
seen a country lad before, at some time or another, and 
their own affairs were more interesting than he was. 

Pippin asked the lady at the bar whether he could have 
supper and a bed. She surveyed him with some haughti- 
ness, though with a not unkindly look in her tired eyes. 
"I don't know about supper," she said. "We don't serve 
meals here. I dare say you can have a bed;" and she 


called to the landlord, who came out from behind a glass 
and mahogany screen that divided this large room from 
a smaller one, in which there was accommodation for 
topers of exclusive tastes. 

The landlord carried a paunch as if it were an orna- 
ment, and a double chin as if he preferred it to a single. 
His hair was plastered into a curve on his forehead, and 
his eye was mean and shifty. He looked Pippin over with 
as rtiuch condescension as the barmaid had used, but with 
more suspicion. "I should like to see the colour of your 
money first," he said. 

Pippin took a handful of silver from his pocket, and 
planted it down on the counter. His impulse was to throw 
it in the landlord's fat face, but it was as well that be 
resisted it, for this was all the money that he had left to 

But the landlord did not know that, and the prodigal 
display changed his note. "Oh, that's all right," he said 
half grudgingly, half subserviently. "I can't afford not to 
be careful where there's so many as look all right outside 
and it don't go beyond the outside. Come with me, sir." 

Pippin took up his money and followed him into the 
regions behind the bar, Ben pressing on with him, with a 
revival of curiosity. "That's a nice dog of yours," said 
the landlord, doubtfully. "But you ought to have him 

Pippin laughed. "He's as gentle as a kitten," he said. 

"That may be, but he wants a muzzle," said the land- 
lord. "He can't sleep in your room, you know, if that's 
what you want." 

"Yes he can," said Pippin, and the landlord said that 
the charge would be extra. 


Pippin did not ask what the charge would be, but 
expressed himself satisfied with the stuffy little room to 
which he was introduced. The bed was clean, and he 
proposed to occupy it for only one night. 

The landlord told him where to find an eating-house 
a few yards farther up the road, and he went there at 
once, for he was ravenously hungry. 

He ate and drank his fill, and a friendly serving-girl 
provided for Ben's needs as well as his. The charge was 
less than he had expected, and he hoped that the payment 
exacted for his night's accommodation would be on the 
same scale. For he had entered the city with no more than 
enough for two days of living, or three if he was very 
careful, and the necessity of finding work was weighing 
upon him. 

But food and drink are solvents of more than bodily 
discomfort. "Who babbles of the hardships of poverty or 
of military service after wine?" asked the poet long ago, 
and although Pippin had drunk no wine with his meal he 
left it inclined to make the best of things. 

The clouds had thinned when he came out of the eating- 
house; the moon shone in a watery sky, and the keen 
autumn air freshened even those hemmed-in streets, which 
seemed bright and inviting, with their meanness trans- 
formed by the bright lights and the movements of the 
crowd into something different from their daylight as- 
pect. It was, after all, rather exciting to be one of the 
crowd, even though he and Ben were alone in it. He had 
set foot at last in the great city, and belonged to it for 
a time, as they did. He had his strong body and his 
active brain. It would be an adventure to market them, 
and he did not doubt but what he could earn his living in 


this place as well as any other, and enjoy the novelty of it. 

He strolled along with the crowd until he was stopped 
by a young but peremptory policeman, who asked if Ben 
belonged to him, as he obviously did, and then asked 
further why he was not wearing a muzzle. 

It took Pippin some time to understand that this was 
an obligation of law at that time and in that place, but 
by a stroke of luck the young policeman, who at first 
seemed to hint that only the capital penalty would purge 
his offence, conjectured from some inflexion in his speech 
that he came from the same part of the country as him- 
self, and was so pleased to find his surmise true that he 
incontinently transformed himself from the role of ac- 
cuser, judge, jury, and executioner, all in one, into that 
of protector and helper. He uttered harsh rebuke of the 
crowd that had gathered around them for blocking up the 
thoroughfare, and said that if they did not instantly dis- 
perse there would be some names taken, and trouble would 
come of it. Then he said to Pippin: "You come along 
with me, and I'll make it all right for you." 

He took him to the police station, where by another 
stroke of luck his superior officer had a muzzle that would 
just fit Ben, which he was prepared to sell at a price. 
The price struck Pippin as high, for a second-hand muzzle 
which did not fit well, in spite of the encomiums passed 
upon it, and it considerably reduced his remaining stock 
of silver. But he was glad enough to pay it, for he could 
not have bought one elsewhere at that time of the even- 
ing, and would have had to part with Ben, at least for 
the night. 

The sergeant was friendly enough, told Pippin he had 
got a bargain, and made much of Ben, whose surprise at 


having this indignity thrust upon him by a master whom 
he had hitherto trusted in everything distressed Pippin 
not a little. The sergeant unbent so far as to say that in 
his opinion the law that dictated it was a rotten law, but 
explained that he was not there to make the laws, which 
he hinted he could have made better than those who were 
if it had been left to him, but to see that they were carried 
out. He was affability itself at the end of the interview, 
asked Pippin questions about himself, and said he should 
always be pleased to help him out of a mess if ever he 
found himself in one. "I think we've fixed you up all right 
this time," he said. "Poor old Towser, then! Want to 
get rid of it, do you ? But you'll soon get used to it. Now 
is there anything else I can do for you? I suppose you've 
got a license for the dog." 

Pippin left the police station with a few pence in his 
pocket, besides the license, without wh^ch he might not keep 
Ben by him as a friend. He went straight back to the 
hotel, told the landlord what had happened, and asked him 
to give him some work to do by which he could earn his 
night's lodging. He had to do this standing in the bar, 
which was more crowded than it had been earlier in the 
evening, and the necessity of it was bitter to him. 

The landlord was contemptuous, and inclined to be 
abusive. But Pippin saw no reason why he should support 
that. "I've told you how it was," he said, "and I've done 
you no harm. As I had engaged the room I thought the 
fairest thing was to do what I have done. If you have 
no work for me to do, say so, and I'll get my bag and go." 

The landlord was not melted by this address. "Here's 
a young gentleman," he announced, waving a dirty hand 
to his audience, "who comes 'ere — " But he got no 


further. The auburn-haired barmaid broke in on him. 
"Oh, don't make such a to-do about it," she said in her 
shrill voice. "The boy ain't done no wrong. There's 
plenty he can do to help me till closing-time, and he can 
clean out the bar to-morrow morning. If he's out of a job 
you'd better take him on instead of Bob. He's got one of 
his lazy fits on, and I ain't going to stay here and do his 
work as well as my own. I'm sick of Bob, and you too." 

"Go it, Jessie," said a frequenter, with his elbow on the 
bar. "Give it 'im 'ot. He ain't got no friends." 

She turned on him furiously. "Here, you get out o* 
this," she said, seizing his glass and emptying it into the 
sink beneath the counter. "I've had enough of your 
sauce, and your ugly face too. Get out of it, I say." 

She was obeyed. The man went off grumbling. There 
were murmurs of sycophantic admiration from the rest. 
The landlord's face wore a deprecatory look. "There, 
don't take on, my dear,"*he said soothingly. "If it's a 
job the young man wants, why — ! Can you use your 
fists?" he asked Pippin with a grin. 

She turned on him again, virago-like. "We ain't going 
to have none of that neither," she stormed at him. "I'll 
send Bob about his business, if you ain't got the pluck to 
do it. Call yourself a man ! I don't know why I stay on 
with you. It ain't for your good ldoks, or for your dirty 
money either. You was always mean with that." 

"Well, why don't you go then?" enquired the landlord 
in sulky fury. But it was plain that she ruled him, 
and those who frequented the house too. They were all 
silent now, enjoying the exhibition of her mastery, but 
not without a fear that her storming tongue might be 
turned at any moment upon one of them. 


There came into the bar a big man in shirtsleeves and 
apron. His hair was cut very short, and the bridge of 
his nose was broken. He was wiping his mouth with the 
back of his great hand, but the moment he came in he 
began to make himself inordinately busy, collecting pewter 
pots from the counter with a clatter of the metal. 

"Here, you drop that," she addressed him. "We've 
had enough of you, slinking off to soak and gossip when 
things are busiest. You've got the sack, do you hear? 
Pay him his month," she said to the landlord, "and let 
him go, now at once." 

The big man looked merely surprised. It was evident 
that he had drunk enough to muddle his brain; also that 
he stood in some awe of the voluble shrew behind the bar. 

"This young man is took on in your place," she said. 
"If he wastes his time talking and drinking he'll go the 
same way as you, and in double quick time. So now he 
knows. Drop them pewters and take yourself off." 

The expression of the man's face changed. He glow- 
ered at Pippin and began to roll up the sleeves over his 
powerful arms. The barmaid was at him again with her 
strident tongue, and the landlord, suddenly authoritative, 
called out: "Now we'll have no fighting here," but made 
no motion towards coming from behind the refuge of the 
bar. None of the spectators showed any disposition to 
interfere either, and Pippin found himself in a cleared 
space confronted by a man half as heavy again as he was, 
and if the signs went for anything a fighter by trade, who 
was preparing for the exercise of it. 

But he was not left quite alone. At the first threaten- 
ing motion Ben sprang up, bared his teeth and gave a 
growl such as had never yet come from him. But his in- 


stinct was to protect his master, and gave him direction 
in the way to do it. The man took no notice of the 
threat; perhaps he did not hear it. He would have at- 
tacked the next moment, but Ben sprang at him with all 
the weight and power of his body, and he went down back- 
wards, unprepared for the assault, while the dog tried to 
get his teeth into his throat, but was prevented by the 
strong wires of his muzzle. 

It was all over in less than a minute. Pippin dragged 
Ben off, and quieted him. The man rose to his feet, 
hardly understanding, as it seemed, what had happened to 
him, uttering no word but fingering at his neck. The 
landlord grasped at his authority, now that the bully 
whom he had feared had been worsted. "Take your 
money and go," he said. "If you're not out of the place 
in ten minutes with all that belongs to you I'll have the 
police in. This young man never spoke to you, and you 
was going for him to smash him. Everybody here saw 

He picked up his money and went out, still dazed and 
puzzled, and the landlord went after him, strong now in 
his sense of having the law behind him to punish an un- 
provoked assault if there should be any signs of further 

The barmaid suddenly laughed. "That's good-bye to 
Bob," she said. "He was never no good to anybody, and 
it's a good riddance. Give your orders, please; I can't 
stand here doing nothing. Here, young man, you make 
yourself useful. Take these pots to the sink behind there 
and rinse 'em well. You're took on as potman to. the 
'King William,' and you got me to thank for it." 

It may be imagined with what distaste and perplexity 


of mind Pippin set himself to his task. It was hardly five 
minutes since he had entered the house, and here he was 
apparently a permanent part of its organization. The 
ugly scene that had just passed disgusted him beyond 
measure. He felt a loathing for all who had taken part 
in it or looked on at it, and the mean and vile place in 
which it had happened. It would be impossible for him 
to stay on and work here. What had he said that had 
committed him to it? He hadn't opened his lips since 
the barmaid had suggested his being taken on, until he 
had called his dog off the man who had wanted to fight 
him. What was he to do? Go out into the street with 
Ben, walk about all night, and get some work to do the 
next day. That was what he almost made up his mind to ; 
but something urged him to stay and see it through. He 
had got himself into a mess, and he wouldn't run away 
from it. 

With this decision made he was ready for the landlord, 
who came to him pleased at having got rid of the formid- 
able Bob with less difficulty than would have seemed pos- 
sible, and prepared to take quite a different line with his 

"He went like a lamb," he said with a satisfied grin. 
"I kept on threatening him with the police if he didn't go 
quiet, and we've seen the last of his ugly face. Now then, 
young man, it's a stroke of luck for you that there's his 
place for you to step into. I'll take you on for a month's 
trial at wages to be settled when I see how you shape. 
You can't keep your dog here, but — " 

"Then if I can't keep my dog here that settles it," said 
Pippin. "I've started working for my bed now. I'll 
finish that, and we'll take ourselves off to-morrow," 


It was the barmaid, lending an ear to the conversation, 
who said that of course he could keep his dog. "It was 
the dog that got rid of Bob for us — me and the dog 
between us," she said. "You'd never have had the pluck 
to do it." 

So that point was conceded, grudgingly, and Pippin 
said further : "I never had any idea of doing work of this 
sort, though I would have done any work for my night's 
lodging, as I couldn't pay what I had undertaken. I'll 
stay with you until you can get somebody else; you will 
pay me by the week, and you will pay me wages that you 
will settle now. I don't suppose there's anything to do 
that I can't learn by being told once, and you won't have 
anything to complain of on that score." 

He felt better when he had spoken up like that. The 
sense of degradation left him. He and Ben had fallen on 
a queer lot, but they would go through with it together. 
There was something strengthening in shouldering a 
burden, and he could lay it down presently without having 
run away from it. 

The landlord met his speech with an alacrity that might 
have caused him to reflect if he had not been so bewildered 
by the suddenness with which everything was happening, 
and immediately offered him a wage that sounded not 
illiberal. He did this while the barmaid was out of hear- 
ing, but Pippin marked his sidelong look at her, and 
called out to ask if the offer was a fair one. She said no, 
and it was increased, with an oath. Pippin Had bound 
himself to this uncongenial occupation, for how long he 
did not know. 

It was not until after midnight that he shut himself 
into his room, tired out with the unaccustomed work he 


had been doing after his long day's tramp. He was too 
tired to think of what had befallen him, or even to feel 
unhappy about it. Ben, stretched on the floor by the side 
of his bed, was hardly asleep before he was. 



Pippin stayed in this place for a month. It took him as 
long as that to find out that the landlord's efforts to 
provide a substitute for him were a pretence, but when he 
did he told him that he was going, and went, without 
further notice, undisturbed by his threat of the police. 
He had learnt a good deal by that time, not only of the 
landlord but of the people to whose baser wants he spent 
his days and part of his nights in attending; and though 
he did his service willingly, and there were some with 
whom he had a pleasant word occasionally, in the mass he 
despised and disliked them. There was a rough kindness 
about Jessie, the barmaid, which somewhat redeemed her; 
but her temper was uncertain at the best, and in her glar- 
ing coarseness she was so lacking in all he had learnt to 
respect in womanhood that he had much ado to keep on 
terms with her. Fortunately she seemed to lose interest 
in him when he was once installed under her orders. She 
only came in the evenings, and was kept busy with her 
work, and with the incessant hard dalliance which she kept 
up with those who affected admiration of her. She dis- 
pensed Pippin from taking part in this dreary play, and 
once or twice during a lull of custom, when her mood was 
amiable, she spoke a natural word with him. But these 
contingencies seldom arrived together, and he knew no 
more of her at the end of the month than at the beginning, 
except that she was a widow and had a grown up son, 



something like Pippin, she told him, who had given her a 
good deal of trouble. 

He often wondered what had made him bind himself to 
this occupation on that first agitated evening. It was 
partly because his youth had inclined him to submit to 
what was expected of him, partly because in these un- 
familiar surroundings of the city he knew not what further 
misfortune might befall him if he went out into the night 
without a penny in his pocket. Neither reason seemed 
strong enough to him now, but he had learnt much since 
his initiation, and was learning more every day. The 
learning was a disagreeable process, but there was some 
satisfaction in showing endurance of a life he hated, and 
feeling himself growing in strength and resourcefulness 
all the time. His dislike for the landlord grew steadily. 
There was nothing in this mean, greedy, shifty man to be 
respected. Pippin put the whole of his energy into his 
work, and gave his employer no excuse to hector him. 
It was a duel between them. The landlord looked for 
faults, but Pippin would take no blame from him, and 
presently he desisted, and changed his tone to one of unc- 
tuous familiarity; for this was valuable service that he 
was getting, and he wanted to keep it. But Pippin 
would have none of his cozening, and pressed him to find 
another helper and set him free, which he always promised 
to do and never did. 

Sometimes in a moment free for thought Pippin's mind 
would go back to the happy time he had spent in the cot- 
tage on the sunny cliff top, where every face he saw was 
the face of a friend, where there was hard work and small 
pay for it, but it was work done under the free sky, and 
all around was the clean air of the fields and the sea, and 


the nights were quiet, with deep healthful sleep in them* 
How different from this life of the city, with its incessant 
noise and unrest, with dirt everywhere and the very air 
tainted; where all work seemed a burden to those whose 
lives were forced to it, and relief from toil found in the 
hot rank atmosphere of this drinking-shop, and talk that 
might at any moment break into quarrelling, and quarrel- 
ling into blows. 

Part of Pippin's duty Was to be on the watch for these 
disputes, and to turn into the street any one whose incli- 
nation towards violence showed signs of mastering him. 
If he had known this he would not have committed himself 
to it, but, having done so, he found it not the most odious 
of his tasks. He could work off some of his disgust at 
the baser sort of people among whom his days were spent, 
and whom he was there to serve, and at least by the 
strength of his arm prove that he was better than they 
were. The landlord was solicitous for the good name of 
his house just so far as it would keep him out of trouble, 
but was too cowardly a creature to be able to keep order 
among the rougher spirits who frequented it. The bar- 
maid with her shrill tongue did more than he did, but it 
was Pippin who wrought a change in it during the time 
he was there, not so much because he cared about its good 
name as from the disgust that was seething in him at all 
its sordid ways, which found vent in violent action when- 
ever the excuse was given him. 

But this relief became less as his prowess became known 
and wrought its effect. One night he had had a hearten- 
ing struggle with a bully who was always tempting him 
to an attack, but stopping short of the provocation that 
would have brought it on. This time he had given it, and 


Pippin had turned him out into the street, and had a set- 
to with him when he got him there, which had lasted a very 
short time but given him a good conceit of himself. It 
was late on the night on which he received his pay, and 
his momentary self-satisfaction more than the landlord's 
sycophantic praise of him prevented his giving the notice 
that would have set him free. 

But the next morning he overheard the landlord refuse 
the application of a man who wanted the place that he 
was so ready to give up. It was a rough refusal, as 
this man's would be, when anything was asked of him that 
it was not to his advantage to concede. "You can clear 
out of this," it ended, "unless you want to be kicked out. 
There's a young fellow about the place who can do it and 
enjoy doing it, and I'm going to keep him at it." 

The man went out grumbling. ' The landlord came into 
the bar, and blinked when he saw Pippin there. Pippin 
hated him too much to care about a contest of words with 
him. "I'm just going up to fetch my things, and then 
I'm going out of your beastly house," he said. 

The landlord began to bluster, but he left him at it. 
He began again when Pippin came down, but he pushed 
by him without a word. He went to the yard in which 
Ben lived a doleful existence during the long hours in 
which his master was working, and within three minutes of 
the time that he had discharged himself Pippin was in the 
street, a free man once more. 

It was a dull cold morning, more cheerless in these con- 
fined streets than the roughest weather in the open coun- 
try, But for Pippin, for the first time since he had 
entered the city, the air seemed fresh and bracing. It 
was that time of the morning when the workers of this 


part of the town were mostly penned up between walls, 
and distribution of goods was not yet at its height. The 
streets were not so full as at other times, and Pippin 
could walk along the broad pavement with something of 
the same step with which he had set out on one of his 
day's marches through the country. He felt not less 
exhilaration than on those happy mornings, and as for 
Ben, his delight at this glorious and unexpected resump- 
tion of the only right way of using the hours of the day 
was almost too much for him. He jumped about his 
master, who had come to his senses at last, higher than 
he had ever jumped before, with barks of uncontrolled 
rapture, and did not settle down to the close dogging of 
Pippin's steps, which he had learnt in his painful experi- 
ence of streets to be the only way not to lose him in the 
crowd, until they had left the scene of their tribulations far 
behind them. By that time he had accepted the change, 
and put the past out of his mind, which is the happy 
faculty of dogs and other animals, more fortunate than 
men in being able to take the good as it comes, and for 
as long as it lasts, with no shadow thrown upon it by the 

"How altogether wise and good you are, dear master, 
in taking up that bundle of yours again, which unless I 
am much mistaken contains something for both of us to 
enjoy under a tree or on a grassy bank when the time 
comes. Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! I do want you to 
know how pleased I am with this setting out again. We'll 
never go back to that horrible place — -no more, no more, 
no more. But, I say, can't we do without this beastly 
cage over my head? I can't get at you to lick your face. 
You wouldn't like to wear one yourself, you know. Oh, 


very well ! I won't grumble at it until we get clear of all 
these tiresome people; then you can take it off. You 
know best, no doubt. Don't worry about me. I'm as 
happy as a lark, and ready to follow you anywhere. 
Lead on!" 

Pippin had money in his purse, and his freedom. But 
the money was not enough to keep him for long, and the 
freedom would have to be used to find work that would 
earn him his living until the time came for him to set his 
face homewards. There was the whole dreary winter to 
get through before that time came, and he had made up 
his mind that he would see it out in the city. He had been 
unfortunate in his first experience, but he knew that he 
had lighted only upon the unsavoury fringe of it, and 
it still spelt romance to him, though no longer of the 
golden stuff of his dreams. His home, and all the life that 
he had led there, had painted itself in his imagination in 
ever brighter colours during his late imprisonment. It did 
not seem possible that he would ever want to leave it again, 
when he once got back to its happy settled freedom. He 
was sure that he would never want to come to the city 
again, or at least not to take part in any of its work, or 
the life lived by its workers. But there was still some- 
thing to be gained from it, if it was only the delight that 
would come to him when he had got through the months 
of his probation and could take the road homewards. He 
would not seek work outside the city until the time came 
for him to leave it for good. 

There had been times in which, freed from his distaste- 
ful work, he and Ben had gone exploring away from the 
unlovely quarter in which he lived. There was open 
ground within reach, almost like the real country, in 



which were trees and grass and the wet mud of honest 
roads instead of greasy pavements. But he had gone 
more often to the heart of the city, and seen much to 
interest him. 

He had seen the great buildings that were familiar to 
him in pictures ; the palace by the river in which the laws 
were made that he and all men must obey for the peace- 
able ordering of the realm, and from which even so small a 
thing as the muzzling of Ben had proceeded, so anxious 
were the grave deliberators for the safety of those whose 
welfare was committed to their charge; the great church 
in which kings and other illustrious men were buried; 
famous streets, and well-ordered parks, in which nature 
was tamed but also encouraged. He had seen a troop 
of soldiers in all their splendour of scarlet and gold and 
steel, and admired the fine horses which carried them. 
This had been a chance encounter, but it had greatly 
pleased him. And he had wondered at the houses of the 
rich, the miles and miles of them, and again at the fine 
equipages which served their pleasure or convenience, 
though he had been told that the high nobility were for 
the most part resident on their country estates at this 
season, and had taken their horses and servants with them. 

He had been told this in a little tavern which he had 
lighted upon in a huddle of narrow streets behind a great 
thoroughfare of stately buildings. The little streets of 
little shops and little houses wore a very different aspect 
from the sordid byways of the quarter from which he had 
come. They were clean and neat and homely, and their 
air was one of staid respectability, like the back-regions 
of some great house, in which servants live in sociable 
comfort, but must keep themselves and everything about 


them tidy, and not intrude their private affairs upon their 
betters. This retiring little tavern had taken Pippin's 
fancy, because it was not unlike a country inn, and as 
unlike as possible to the flaunting tavern from which he 
had escaped for an hour or two. So he had gone in and 
asked for a tankard of ale. 

The ale that was drawn for him was of a very different 
quality from that with which he dealt during his working 
hours. One sip of that had been enough for him, and he 
had bound himself to touch no strong liquors in that 
place as long as he stayed there, except in the way of 
serving them to others. 

This was the real nut-brown nectar of the country-side, 
with a reminder of fragrant hops, September sunshine, 
and warm-scented oast-houses. It was the good cheer of 
men who had done their work in the fields under the open 
sky, and could moisten their tired clay in congenial com- 
pany, encouraged by it to an enlivening warmth of spirit, 
and not pushed by heady vapours to a mood of quarrel- 
someness and noisy self-assertion. It is the best drink 
in the world for those who by due exercise of body, 
whether of work or of play, have adapted themselves to 
its consumption ; and in this matter the poor man has the 
advantage of the rich man, for there are few times in 
which his capacity is not equal to his desire, and only a 
lack of pence prevents his departure from sobriety, except 
on occasions that it would be churlish to bring up against 
him. For at such times an honest man, in a glow of good- 
will towards his fellow-creatures, is overcome more by 
the wish to enjoy a condition in which lack of pence is the 
least of evils than by the grave sin of drunkenness. Be- 
sides, this transfusion of grain and fruit and sunshine com- 


mands a price far below its merits, and your rich man is 
apt to undervalue things that cost him little. In choice 
of food and drink he relies more upon the education of the 
palate than upon the natural promptings of appetite, and 
appetite he squanders by a too ready subservience to it. 
For you must master appetite and not let it master you, 
if you would keep it in healthy cheerful action ; and there 
are some who say you must take this way with women too, 
but I am not one of them, and at any rate it has nothing 
to do with what we are talking about. 

The natural potables of other nations are manifestly 
inferior to this delectable strong and bitter ale, which can 
be drunk in its perfection in only one country in the 
world, and that a small one, though glorious, for this 
among other reasons. There is a beer brewed in other 
countries which is good to drink, but it induces fat in 
place of brawn, and its habitual consumers are immoderate 
with it. They swill their beer, but no man swills strong 
ale ; it is too precious a fluid. A long and deep draught, 
with a subsequent ecstatic exhalation of the breath and a 
smacking of the lips, is a different matter, and nature's 
own way of showing gratitude for a great favour re- 

The fermented juice of apples is the common drink in 
those fair regions where grows this wholesome fruit ; but 
it is lacking in substance, and tends to acidity, of the 
temper as well as of the bodily organs. There is less of 
sustenance in it than of provocation, and though men 
who choose their liquors will not pass it by altogether it 
has no great following outside the vernacular. 

The very potent spirit drawn from malted barley or 
rye grain, if mellowed by age, is a comfortable and sapid 


drink for men of mature age and settled character, but 
makes a mock of others who meddle with it beyond moder- 
ation. In the chief country of its distillation, a deep 
sagacity and a sense of election elevates those whose 
native potion it is to a plane upon which they can scorn 
its perils; but for men of a lighter composition it is no 
substitute for honest ale, and they will get small good of 
persisting with it. 

Wine, pressed from the grape, in the sunny countries 
in which these ripen, has a mellowing enlivening influence 
on those who drink it, but they are not to be compared for 
solidity either of flesh or of temper to those who drink 
good ale under a more humid sky. 

In all this catalogue of fermented liquors, and especially 
in the matter of wine, I am not concerned with special 
delicacies of production, measured off and sold in glass 
bottles, but with the good native liquors that can be stored 
and ripened in seasoned wood, which has some affinity with 
them. And of all of them the homely virtues of bitter ale 
are best brought out if it is kept in casks of wood and 
drawn from them for immediate ingestion. These are the 
drinks that can be drunk with more benefit than bane, and 
are not the monopoly of the rich. And good ale is the 
king of them all, and the most fortifying. 

Pippin's tankard was filled from a cask that stood 
under the counter, and set down in front of him headed 
with the light froth that told of life still animating it; 
and he drank and was satisfied. 

It was drawn for him by a comfortable looking woman, 
neither young nor old, but inclining to the latter, who 
then returned to her chair beside a bright fire and went on 
with her knitting, while she showed that she would not be 



averse to a little conversation. Pippin was the only cus- 
tomer, and that part of the room which he had entered 
would not have held many more. The part in which the 
hostess sat was considerably larger, though not so large 
as to take away from the cosiness of the whole. There were 
chairs and a table in a corner of it, as if for favoured 
guests, but she did not invite Pippin inside, perhaps be- 
cause of Ben, for whom, however, she had a word of 

Of course she wanted to know where both of them had 
come from, and Pippin told her from the country, and 
what part of it, but not how long it was since he had left 
his home, or what he had been doing since. He would 
have been ashamed to tell her what he was doing at that 
time, and fortunately he had given her an opening which 
prevented her from pressing him with questions. She had 
been to the country in which his home lay, to a great 
house within a few miles of it which he knew well, and the 
owners of it, though they were far above him in station 
and his knowledge of them was no more than came from 
the friendly intercourse of the country-side and the gossip 
that centres on those who are leaders in it. The hostess 
had been maid to a lady visiting there, and remembered 
this out of all the great houses at which she had attended 
her mistress because she had first met her husband there, 
also attendant on a visitor. 

The husband came in presently. He was a dignified 
man, rather older than his wife. He listened courteously 
to her reference to Pippin, and with a shrewd look at him 
and the dog said that he remembered those parts as well 
stocked with game, and the gentleman on whom he had 
been in attendance and for whom he had loaded at the time 


they were speaking of had done some very pretty shooting 

It would have been balm to Pippin to talk about country 
sport, whether on a horse or with a gun; but hard upon 
the heels of the host there came into the bar a portly 
senior in the dress of a coachman, and immediately after 
him another who could only have been a butler, unless he 
were a judge or a bishop, which would have been unlikely* 
These entered at once the parlour behind the bar, and 
were greeted by host and hostess as if their arrival were 
expected and welcomed. They were followed by two other 
men, evidently of the higher ranks of domestic service, and 
in the stir of greeting and attendance upon their require- 
ments, Pippin drained his tankard and went out, lifting 
his cap to the hostess, who nodded to him with a smile, 
and called to him to come and see her again when she 
was less busy. 

It was to this tavern, so different in all respects from 
the one he had left, and especially in its quiet homeliness, 
that Pippin was now directing his steps. It was the 
only place in all the great city in which he had been for a 
few minutes in contact with self-respecting kindly folk. 
Perhaps they would take him in there, or, if not, he was 
sure that the hostess would tell him where to find a lodg- 
ing. Then he would at once set about finding work, and 
he had ideas about that too. But the first thing was to 
secure his resting-place. 



Pippin was in luck on this his second encounter with cir- 
cumstance. The hostess, whose name was Mrs. Blunt, had 
taken a fancy to him, as appeared when he presented him- 
self before her, had hoped that he would come again, and 
was pleased to see him now that he had come. As for 
letting him a room, the house was too small for them to 
make a practice of that, but there was a little room which 
they seldom used, and if her husband approved he should 
have it, and should take his meal with them too. They were 
two people alone together, and although their walk in life 
provided them with no lack of agreeable company, their 
friends were mostly of a ripe age, and they would not be 
sorry to have somebody rather younger about them for a 
time. How long did Pippin propose to stay in the city? 
She supposed he had come to see the sights, and she and 
her husband might perhaps put him in the way of seeing 
some things that it was not open for everybody to see. 
She took it that the money he had to spend was not 
without limit, but she promised him that her charges 
would be moderate, and if he spent it quickly it would be 
his fault and not hers. 

Pippin told her that he had some money, but must find 
regular employment, for that had been the bargain with 
his father when he had allowed him to leave his home for a 
year to see the world. Well, she said, that was not a bad 

way of treating a young man. It kept him out of mis- 



chief, to which young men with leisure and money to spend 
were very prone ; and it gave them resource and confidence 
in themselves. She didn't know what sort of work Pippin 
had it in his mind to do. She supposed that a young man 
brought up in the kind of home he had told her was his 
would not care about engaging himself in a public-house. 
Otherwise he might have had employment there, for she 
and her husband and a maid did most of what there was to 
do between them, and they had often talked about getting 
in a young man to help, but put it off because it was not 
easy to find one of respectability and good manners. 

So here was work offered to him without his having to 
seek it, and little the good woman who offered it apolo- 
getically guessed the work he had just left, or the sur- 
roundings, so different from hers, in which it had been 
done. If she had had any idea of it she could only have 
been surprised, and perhaps a little offended, at Pippin's 
passing it by. But his mind revolted at the idea of binding 
himself to the serving of liquors, even though it were un- 
accompanied by any grossness. She was right in doubt- 
ing whether it was work that one brought up as he had 
been would care to undertake. He had fallen upon it by 
chance, and would never have thought of it otherwise. 
He was too relieved at having got back upon his own 
proper level to be willing to step down from it again. 

"I will willingly give you all the help I can," he said, 
"for I am grateful to you for taking me in in this kind 
way. But I want to work out of doors, and among horses 
if I can." 

She accepted his refusal as natural ; but afterwards he 
made good his offer of helping her in his spare time, 
and she frequently expressed surprise at his adroitness; 


for he seemed to know exactly what to do without being 
told. When the time approached some months later for 
him to leave her he made a clean breast of it, and they 
laughed together over the small deception he had prac- 
tised upon her. By that time the sting of his memories 
had been drawn, and she had become so fond of him 
that she could only sigh and click her tongue at the 
thought of his having gone through so dreadful an ex- 
perience. It was only when he told her that she had 
more than made it up to him that she allowed herself 
to be diverted from her commiseration and laughed oyer 
his tale. 

Her husband made no objection to the arrangement 
she had come to with Pippin. He seemed to be a little 
doubtful about it, having the suspicion of his years o( 
the ways of young men when brought into contact with 
the settled habits of their seniors. But Pippin divined 
that he would only have to be watchful of his crotchets 
and he would soon get used to having him about the 
place, and perhaps come to like it. 

This came about in a short time. Mr. Blunt was a 
man of some stiffness and reserve of manner, encouraged 
in him, no doubt, by his position in life, in which he had 
to keep intact his own dignity while waiting on the will 
of others. For he was still in service, though not tied 
to it throughout the year. He was butler to a dowager 
lady, at such times as she settled herself in town, and 
though he often talked of retiring he was not likely to 
do so as long as she remained alive and in need of his 

Pippin lost no time in looking for the work he wanted. 
He had not told Mrs. Blunt exactly what it was he had 


in his mind, but he was full of it, as is the way of a 
young man with an idea to be put into practice. 

This was a time some years before horse-drawn traffic 
gave place to that actuated by machinery. The public 
vehicles of the city were lumbering omnibuses, cabs with 
four wheels and cabs with two. It is hard to believe 
that there are people, and no longer in childhood, who 
have never seen the streets full of horses, and free from 
those gliding petrol-driven carriages, which take you 
where you want to go at so fast a pace that you have 
no time to think whether it is worth while going there, 
and in such a hurry. And out of all the fine sights that 
they have missed in their lives, one most to be regretted 
on their behalf is that of the hansom cabs, which made 
such a brave show in the streets and were so pleasant to 
ride in, if the horse was a good one and the driver neither 
too fearful nor too reckless. It is odd, I say, that so 
late in the era of machinery these spanking cabs should 
have been accepted as the last word of speed in street 
traffic, when for longer distances the stage coaches had 
been ousted by the railroad two generations before. The 
one is now as much a thing of the past as the other, but 
at this time the hansoms and the four-wheelers and the 
horse-drawn omnibuses still held the streets, and it was 
a hansom that Pippin had the ambition of driving. 

He had greatly admired to see them swinging along 
on their high wheels, with their metal and varnish shining, 
the likely-looking horses that were often between their 
shafts, and the cabby seated aloft on his perilous seat, 
looking as if he thoroughly enjoyed that swaying emi- 
nence. There were many degrees of pulchritude in these 
hansom cabbies, as there were in the cabs they rode and 


the horses they drove. The high type was a man of middle 
age, with a weathered face and a knowing look of good 
humour. He wore a shining top-hat with a rakish air, 
a thick fawn-coloured coat with enormous white buttons, 
dog-skin gloves, and very often a button-hole. Unlike 
the lilies, he took thought of his appearance, and indeed 
he wore a handsome aspect, and it was an honour to be 
driven by him, for he was as well-groomed as any rich 
man's coachman, with an added spice of dash and mettle 
about him. The inferior type of cabby, especially those 
who drove the four-wheelers — though some of these were 
knowledgeable horsey men — might know no more about the 
driving of a horse than that if you pulled one rein he 
went one way and if you pulled the other he went another, 
and if you pulled both at the same time he stopped until 
you hit him with the whip, when he went on again. But 
the archetype did know about horses ; his knowledge was 
proclaimed to all who could recognize the masters of 
that recondite science. He had affinity with all men who 
wore tight gaiters on thin shanks slightly bowed, and 
hard hats atilt, sucked straws, and denied the animal of 
their devotion the initial letter of his name. His knowl- 
edge of individual horses went far beyond those he had 
seen. Of the equine aristocracy he knew the parentage 
for generations back, and the temper and turn of speed 
of those in the eye of his world, and was prepared to 
back his knowledge with silver and sometimes gold against 
all who would gainsay it. He would take you anywhere 
you pleased for a sum in payment, and give you a jovial 
word of thanks for anything extra, unlike the weedy 
mechanics who have succeeded him, and pocket your coin 
in a sour and suspicious silence. But he was in most 


accord with you when you hired him to take you out of 
the town to one of the places where horses raced together. 
Then he was in his right element. Pleasure and business 
went most lovingly hand in hand. He was your generous 
friend from the moment you set out until you parted 
with him on your return. All his knowledge was at your 
service. Follow it, and your fortune was made, if you 
had the pluck to take no more than a reasonable risk. 
He would make no bargain with you, knowing that he 
would share in your good fortune if it came about. If 
it did not, and you returned in dejection, he would en- 
courage you with the certainty of profit on the next 
occasion; and in either case, if you were a person 
worthy of his trust in you, you would part with mutual 

He was a brave fellow, and he exists no longer; but 
his ghost may sometimes be encountered at the wheel of 
a throbbing engine. Always take a motor-cab driven by 
an old man rather than a young one. Ten to one he has 
learnt manners in his youth and prime. For to drive 
and ride horses is a better schooling than to drive small 
engines. Treat him generously, remembering that for him 
the times are evil, however brave a face he may put upon 
them. He moves faster than ever he did, but the glory 
of movement has departed. Soon he will go to join the 
company of those who were long since dispossessed of 
the road, and are now only a legend, as he will be in a 
few more years at most. 

It was to this company then that Pippin aspired to 
belong: no very high aspiration perhaps, but not to be 
condemned in a very young man whose love for horses 
was in his bones and his knowledge of them beyond l^taB^, 


years. He was cut off from the pursuits natural to his 
state, and if he had to earn his bread for a time these 
were the special wares he had to market. Besides, he 
wanted to see the town, and his opportunities would be 
far less if he were to confine his work between walls. 
And he was taken — this was a very youthful trait in him 
— with that dashing livery of shiny hat, brown gloves, 
and saucer-buttoned coat. Give him one of those smart 
new cabs, as well-appointed as any private carriage, and 
a horse with some blood in him, and he saw himself in a 
position of credit and lustre, in a calling of which no 
man in the fraternity of horse-lovers need feel ashamed. 

But how to get started in that career! 

He went to a cab-rank in a square of large houses, 
with trees and grass behind railings in the middle of it 
The cabmen were mostly sitting in the shelter provided 
for them, but those at the head of the rank whose turn 
was about to come were on the pavement, talking and 
joking with one another. Ben went up and nosed them 
in a friendly way, as if he recognized in them men not 
entirely subdued to the unnatural bent of pavement* 
walkers, and so provided Pippin with an introduction. He 
was soon invigorating himself with talk of horse and dog, 
such as he had not enjoyed for weeks past. They had 
talked horse in the bar of the "King William," but that 
was a different kind of talk, and those who were readiest 
at it looked upon the noblest of animals only as a counter 
in their business of gambling. 

Pippin kept his eyes and his ears open, as the business 
in which these men were engaged proceeded. A whistle 
would sound from the porch of one of the houses round 
the square, or a pedestrian would hold up his stick or 


umbrella on the pavement. The man whose cab was at 
the head of the rank would swing himself up to his high 
seat and drive off. The whole rank would move up one. 
Cabs would drive up and take their places at the end 
of the line, and their drivers would climb down, swing 
their arms for warmth, unbend their legs, and join their 
fellows. The horses were fed from nosebags, and some- 
times a rug was thrown over their quarters. There was 
a constant adjournment of cabmen, two or three together, 
to a tavern just round the corner, hiding itself modestly 
among its stately neighbours and keeping quiet about 
the business carried on in it. By and by the retirements 
for liquid refreshment lengthened themselves into sittings 
for more solid fare. Meals were served, mostly to the 
cabmen, in this tavern, and Pippin ate his dinner there, 
in company which had accepted him as a youth of parts 
and of the right kind of education. 

It was then that he broached his desire to join it for 
a time, and his hopes and expectations were immediately 
dashed. It was not only that there were more men in 
search of this kind of employment than there was room 
for, nor that a close knowledge of all the quarters of the 
town would have to be shown and proved before authority. 
He might have got over the one obstacle by persistent 
application and the other by a diligent study of maps 
and books. It was his youth that barred him. Was 
he prepared to swear that he was twenty-one years of 
age? Nobody would believe him, for he was two years 
short of it, and looked not a day older than he was. 
"They don't take on children for this job," was the 
verdict of one of the less amiable of his new acquaintances. 
Others laughed at him, more kindly, and said 


would grow up in time, and drive a cab with the best 
of them. 

It was a very keen disappointment, but there was no 
getting over it. Later in the afternoon he went back 
to what was now his home, and confided it to Mrs. Blunt 
It was a consolation to have somebody to go to who I 
would take an interest in his hopes and disappointments. 

Mrs. Blunt was rather shocked that he should have 
thought of such a thing. "They're a rough lot," she 
said, "drinking and swearing and betting. Some of them 
are gentlemen, who have come down in the world, and 
they are the worst of any. We don't encourage them 
to come here, and I am glad we are not in the neighbour- 
hood of a cab-rank, or we should have to serve them 
whether we wanted to or no. If it is horses you want 
to have to do with, why not try to get into a private 
stable? It's very likely my husband could help you there, 
or Mr. Grant, who drives her ladyship. There's nothing 
like respectable private service for a young man who has 
his living to make, or for a young woman either. You 
live well, and wear good clothes, and there's consideration 
shown you if you're willing, and bear yourself respectful; 
if you get among the right sort, that is; for the people 
that have risen themselves, sometimes from something no 
better than their own servants, often don't treat them so 
well as those that have been used to being served all their 

"I shouldn't like that," said Pippin rather shortly, and 
Mrs. Blunt accepted his rejection of her proposal with- 
out offence. It is a curious trait in the better class of 
servants that while they prove by their own dignity and 
self-respect that there is nothing derogatory in their call- 


ing, they will acquiesce in the disesteem of it by others. 
Mrs. Blunt did not count Pippin higher in degree than 
herself or her husband, but he was the son of a man 
who lived in his own house and farmed his own land. 
He might serve others, as most of us must, but it did 
not surprise her that he shrank from putting on a livery 
and subordinating himself in a special way to his em- 

"Well," she said, "you would be comfortable enough 
in good service, but I suppose comfort isn't everything, 
and all of us like our freedom, especially when we are 
young. If it is work with horses that you must have, 
why not try at a riding-master's ? You would give lessons 
to young ladies and such-like, and have your fill of riding, 
and on good horses too." 

Pippin thought he would like this occupation, and 
Mr. Blunt's friend, the coachman, introduced him to a 
riding-master, who, he thought, was looking about for 
somebody who would take on that work. 

So he was. But here Pippin's youth again stood in his 
way. The riding-master said he should have liked to 
oblige his friend the coachman, and no doubt Pippin 
was a good man on a horse and wouldn't rattle them 
to pieces like some he could tell of. But his business 
lay chiefly among the highest class of young ladies' 
schools, and he had to be precious particular what kind 
of man he sent out with them. "They'd never stand a 
gay young spark like you," he said. "Too dangerous 
for the susceptible 'earts of the young ladies. I should 
lose most of my custom, and then I should be out of a 
job as well as you." 

Pippin tried here and tried there, and all the res 


able gentlemen who foregathered at the tavern and made 
something of a favourite of him took an interest in his 
search for work, and were fertile in suggestion but helped 
him to nothing definite. At last the old coachman again 
said that he knew somebody who owed him a turn. He 
could give Pippin a job if he wanted to, and it would 
be just the very thing for him. He would go and see 
him the next morning. No, he would go that very eve- 
ning, before he drove her ladyship out to dinner. He 
would go that very moment. 

He did not disclose what the very thing for him was, 
and Pippin had some doubts about it until he came in the 
next morning and said with great good humour that he 
had settled it. His friend was at the head of the dis- 
tributing department of a large retail store, or rather 
of the men and the carts and the horses who carried 
out the work of distribution. He had promised to give 
Pippin a trial, on the coachman's recommendation. He 
would have to work in the stable first of all, but it 
wouldn't be long before he had a cart to drive. The busy 
season was coming, and they would soon be putting on 
more carts and taking on extra men. Pippin would come 
in just at the right time, and would get one of the driving 
jobs as soon as anybody; and though some of the extra 
help would not be wanted after Christmas, if Pippin made 
good at the job he would be kept on. 

So there he was at last, with settled work for as long 
as he liked to keep it. It was not exactly what he would 
have preferred, but it was not far off it, and he had learnt 
by now that regular work was not the easiest thing to 
get in the city. 

His youth, which the coachman had omitted to men- 


tion, nearly proved his undoing again. He was told that 
he could have work in the stable, but it was out of the 
question to give him a cart to drive. He did not tell 
the coachman this. He wanted a chance to prove himself, 
and thought that in time he would get a cart to drive, 
however much it might seem out of the question now. 

It was exhilarating to get to work in these new sur- 
roundings, especially as the work had to do with horses, 
which are much the same in a town as in a country stable. 
And this was a very up-to-date and well-kept stable. 
The head of it was a martinet, and no sloth or careless- 
ness escaped his notice. He kept a sharp eye on Pippin, 
but found nothing to blame in him. He did his work 
as if he enjoyed it, and there was no doubt that he knew 
how to do it. Presently the overseer relaxed towards 
him. He was worth more than the ordinary stable-hand, 
who often had no skill with horses at all, and wanted 
constant watching. This man loved horses himself, and 
was always in and out of the stable, though the care of 
them devolved not now upon him but upon the head stable- 
man. He had filled this position before he had been 
promoted. He would talk to Pippin in the intervals 
between the rushes of work, and their talk was mostly 
of horse, but also of country life in general, to which 
he had been brought up, and was inclined to regret that 
he had ever left. "Though I'm doing better here than I 
might have done if I'd stayed where I was," he said ; "and 
there's a something about town life that gets hold of 

When he thought he could safely do so without risking 
a rebuff, Pippin steered the talk from horse to dog, with 
the result that Ben was brought to the stable for i 


tion, and comported himself so correctly that he was 
allowed to come regularly thereafter, and spent his days 
with his master much to the increase of his happiness. 

It was not long before Pippin got his cart to drive. 
"I trust you," said the overseer, now his friend, "not to 
bring it down on me. I know you'll be all right with the 
'orses, and I've nothing to be afraid of there. But if 
you was to play any pranks while you was out I should 
get into trouble for putting a boy on to a man's job. 
Drive careful on these slippery streets; they're not what 
you're accustomed to. And don't get talking with the 
maids. They'll be wanting to give you more than a 'thank 
you,' and 'why was you so late?' But leave all that for 
after hours. Speak 'em pleasant, and no harm in a 
'meet you after dark by the old town pump/ But keep 
it to that, and don't stay to talk while you're delivering." 



Pippin enjoyed his work during the first weeks. He had 
good horses to drive, and there was some interest in driving 
in those crowded streets, also in finding his way about the 
endless labyrinth of them. He had to deliver parcels, 
mostly to private houses, and there was variety, both in 
the houses and in the manner of his reception. He had a 
regular quarter to cover, and by and by he began to know 
certain of the houses, in some of which his advent caused 
a slight flutter, as his patron had foreseen. He was 
different from the ordinary run of the men who did the 
work that he was doing, and Ben, who always accom- 
panied him, became known and also aroused interest. It 
was not only the maids, who usually took in his parcels, 
who would have liked a few minutes gossip with him, but 
some of the mistresses too. 

There was one house at which he called frequently 
where the children were on the lookout for him, and 
would come tumbling out to make a fuss of Ben, who had 
transformed himself from a country into a town dog, 
would run half under the cart as cleverly as any trained 
Dalmatian, and made no more of the dangers of the 
streets than if they had been country lanes with but rare 
traffic on them. Pippin would willingly have tarried for 
a word with these children, for there had been a lack of 
contact with youth in his life for some time past, and 
he spent his days with people much older than himself. 


■ -- — *_ 


But at his first driving round, with Christmas fast ap- 
proaching, there was such a press that he could not afford 
to lose a minute anywhere, and indeed he worked for much 
longer hours than the normal, but received extra pay for 
the extra work. 

After he had been driving for about a fortnight, and 
felt himself an established part of the machine, the over- 
seer accosted him with a grin and said: "I've been hauled 
over the coals about you. What was I thinkit^ of to pot 
a kid of your age on to a responsible job like this? And 
to trust you with the best 'orses, and a valuable dawg!" 

He seemed to be in a particular good humour, and 
Pippin gathered that the rebuke had not been serious, but 
was a little alarmed all the same. 

"Won't stop a moment to make yourself agreeable to 
the young ladies, eh? Where was you brought up? 
Oughter be ashamed of yourself, you ought." 

Then Pippin heard that the father of the children who 
had wanted to talk to him and Ben was a high official of 
the Stores, and had been making enquiries about him. 
How he had blessed himself for having resisted the tempta- 
tion to linger, which he might well have done in a time of 
less pressure. If he had he would certainly have been 
dismissed, not so much for that fault as for the fault of 
his youth. 

"You're a valuable servant to the Company," said his 
friend. "An eye is going to be kept on you. You'll be 
put in my place, I shouldn't wonder, when you grow up. 
But it was wrong of me to give you the job all the same. 
I'm forgiven this time, but I'm not to do such a thing 

Pippin had an interview with the official, who handed 


out certain special Christmas boxes himself. He was a 
stiff-mannered short-spoken man. He gave Pippin a pres- 
ent of money, handsome enough considering the short 
time he had been in the employ of the Company, and said 
he would not have received one at all in the ordinary way. 
Then he asked him a few questions about himself, and 
offered him a place in his private stable, at an increase of 
wages. Pippin began to explain that he was going back 
to his home in a few months, but he cut him short. Did he 
want the place or didn't he? Pippin said that he did not, 
and was curtly dismissed. No further marks of favour 
were shown him, but he was kept on in his place, which was 
all he wanted. There seemed to be pitfalls everywhere for 
a young man seeking to earn his living in the city. He 
was glad to have escaped them so far in this employment, 
though it had been as much by good fortune as by his 
own efforts; but he was careful afterwards to keep his 
duties and his inclinations separate. The official's family 
went away before Christmas, and afterwards he served 
another district, and did not see them again. His en- 
counter with them was the nearest he came to making any 
friends upon his rounds. 

The hard work immediately preceding Christmas, which 
had risen in a crescendo to a terrific burst of activity up 
to the very last day, was succeeded by a lull so complete 
that Pippin could hardly believe he was living in the same 

On Christmas Day he longed for his home more than 
at any time since he had left it. It had always been the 
scene of family gatherings, with tremendous feastings and 
jollities kept up from daylight to dark and far beyond it. 
His father was at the head of a tribe of relations many 


of whom gathered in the ancient spacious house to make 
festivity, both in honour of the season and for the keep- 
ing up of family ties. Pippin himself was nearly a genera- 
tion behind the cousins who came there with their chil- 
dren. In Alison and him the second and third generations 
met. The rest were either older or younger, and they two 
had always been a little apart together. He thought con- 
stantly of Alison on this first Christmas which he had not 
spent in her company. They would have met in church, 
walked home together across the snowy fields, sat next 
to each other at the table in the great kitchen which was 
always used for these gatherings, and during the feasting 
and the present-giving and the games, as well as in the 
quieter intervals of the heaped-up festivities, it was she 
would have counted for most with him, as he thought 
now that he would have counted with her. His heart went 
out to her with longing, and he knew that she would be 
missing him too, at every moment. 

Snow had fallen in the town, but it was not the glisten- 
ing white covering to the sleeping earth that it .was in the 
country. The sun shone palely on the slushy streets, no 
more than a reminder of the winter sunshine of a country 
Christmas. There was no air of festivity out of doors, 
but only the Sunday morning trickle of traffic, fuller to- 
wards church time. Pippin went to church, to the great 
cathedral, where the music gloriously celebrated the joy- 
ous festival. This service was something to have seen and 
heard, but he was wishing himself all the time in the little 
ancient church between Alison's home and his, with its 
decoration of holly and box and yew, and no music but 
the voices of the villagers indifferently accompanied on a 
tiny organ. 


There was nothing to complain of in Mrs. Blunt's 
Christmas dinner, at which their friend the coachman, who 
was a hardy bachelor, made a fourth. All three of the 
elderly people were pleased to have Pippin there to 
brighten up the occasion, and he exerted himself to season- 
able merriment ; but how he missed the crowded table of 
his home with all its talk and laughter ! After dinner they 
sat over their port and walnuts, with the paper caps from 
the crackers that Mrs. Blunt had thoughtfully provided 
on their heads, and were comfortable and friendly. They 
put Pippin in the front of their celebration, and showed 
more than a mere liking for him. But his heart was heavier 
at this time than at others, and he was glad when a dis- 
position to seek slumber on the part of his elders set him 
free for a walk with Ben in the chilly light of the after- 

In the evening Mr. Blunt left them, to attend on her 
ladyship's dinner, and Pippin went to church again with 
Mrs. Blunt, who had been too busy to go in the morning 
and showed that she would like his company. They came 
back to a light supper, and Pippin went up to bed about 
the time that they would all be gathering round the hearth 
at his home, to mull wine, roast chestnuts, and vie with 
one another in the telling of ghost stories told so often 
that they had lost their power to thrill, except to an emo- 
tion of sociability. 

After Christmas Pippin never lost the longing to be 
home again. There were things of interest still to be seen, 
and various amusements, denied to country dwellers, with 
which he could fill up his spare time; but the chief part 
of his days was taken up by his employment, which suited 
him well enough for the earning of his living, as long 


had to earn it, but, since he was to leave it presently, 
carried with it no expectation of progress, which is the 
salt of all work, whether of the brain or the hands. There 
were little changes in his life : it was never quite the same 
at the end of the month as at the beginning. This or 
that person with whom he came in contact affected his 
attitude towards the world around him. He came to 
know young people here and there and to like some of 
them. If he had been going to settle down to a life in the 
city he would have been in the way of warming it witft 
companionships, some of which would have developed into 
friendships. Now and then, on Sundays, or at other times 
when he was not working, he had enjoyment of something 
that coloured his life. It was not all monotony, but he 
was not anchored to it, and as the weeks went by and the 
time of his freedom came nearer, it became increasingly 
irksome to have his days filled with this too familiar round. 
He had fixed the date upon which he would put it all behind 
him and set his face towards his much desired home. It 
seemed good to him to plan for his arrival there on the 
very day of the year on which he had left it. He would 
take his pack on his back, whistle to Ben, and walk through 
the country again, in which the spring, of whose coming 
the town seemed unaware long after a thousand signs 
would have heralded it in the country, would be in full 
riot. He made innumerable calculations of the day on 
which he must set forth, and the ground he must cover, 
and after he had finally fixed it advanced it by a week, 
he was so eager to be on the road. 

During his last month his approaching departure was 
seldom out of his mind, and during the last week he was 
making his reckonings all the time: only so many hours 


more to be driving about, only so many more parcels to 
deliver, this house or this street seen for the last time. 

But when he discharged himself from his occupation at 
last, and was free to go where he liked, with money in his 
pocket and a good suit of clothes on his back, he lingered 
for three days more. It was either that or dawdling on 
the road, if he kept to his plan of arrival ; and he would 
not want to dawdle when once his face was set homewards. 

The town had suddenly become attractive to him. 
There were mild days full of sunshine, and now it had 
taken the spring to its bosom, in its own way, which was 
different from the way of the country, but beguiling. The 
trees in the squares showed no sign of leafage, there was 
nowhere in which the shy tokens of the advancing year 
could be looked for. But the flowers were coming in pro- 
fusion — in far more profusion than in the country, where 
they are left to take their own time about it. The baskets 
of the flower-sellers were heaped with treasures of colour 
and scent, masses of bloom were carried about in barrows 
and hawked from door to door. Pippin himself had to 
carry pots of flowering plants and great sheaves of blos- 
som, all very carefully protected, among his other mer- 
chandise. Some of the window-boxes of the houses, empty 
during the winter, or showing dull little evergreen shrubs, 
bloomed in a night with gay hyacinths and daffodils. 
Gorgeous beds of spring-flowering bulbs could be seen 
through the railings of the parks. An army of labour was 
employed. You passed by them one day and it was win- 
ter ; a few days afterwards it was bright spring. 

The town was taken with the desire for cleanliness and 
freshening itself up generally. The painters had come out 
of their winter seclusion and were at work 


fronts in every quarter. In their white overalls tbej 
looked summery, and the very smell of paint brought 
with it the same sense of spring as the scent of flowers. 

There were gayer colours in the shops ; on fine days the 
women's hats were more flowery, and their clothes lighter 
in colour as well as texture. Some of the drivers of 
hansom cabs, admired of Pippin, sported their grey top- 
hats ; the coats of their horses began to glisten. 

There was no doubt that the spring had come, even 
when the sun went in, and the east wind scurried through 
the streets. There would be set-backs yet before it was 
safe to trust it for genial warmth, but every day would 
bring it nearer to its full, and the town was all preparing 
for that time, and making the most of the brief spells in 
which it seemed already to have arrived. Pippin found it 
a pleasant enough place during those last few days, in 
which he was at leisure. He would have carried away a 
very different impression if he had left it at the New 
Year, as for a short time he had been tempted to do. 
And it was satisfactory to have seen those months through, 
without shirking the disagreeables. He would have noth- 
ing to regret now in the way he had spent his time, and 
made use of his opportunities. He was conscious of an 
increase of strength in himself as well as of experience. 
His mistakes had helped him to that end as well as his 
successes, and the dull times perhaps more than those 
which he remembered with pleasure. 

Mr. and Mrs. Blunt took leave of him with regret. It 
had not always been easy to subdue his desires and in- 
clinations to the staid order which they liked to have 
about them. But he had done that, too, and given them 
willing help at all times. 


"I knew I should like you from the first," Mrs. Blunt 
said to him. "There was a something about your smile and 
your freckled face that took my fancy the moment you 
came in, though if I'd known where you'd come from, and 
where you was going back to, I might not have been so 
ready with my offer to take you in. My husband said I 
was a fool to do it without knowing more about you, but 
I was right and he was wrong, and he has owned up now 
that it was so. Well, I suppose we shan't see you again. 
You've been a dear good boy to us, and we shan't forget 

But Pippin said they must come and see him in his 
home, and though he should not come again to the city for 
work, he might later on for play, and it was to them he 
would come, who had been the best of friends to him. 

"You will be welcome enough," said Mrs. Blunt; "but 
don't come alone when you do come. You've made two old 
folks love you, who have none of their own to come after 
them. You'll want the love of somebody closer before 
many years have gone by, and I should like to see her 
before I go." 





PtPPiN let himself out of the silent house very quietly. 
Town-dwellers do not rise early unless there is necessity 
for it, and he did not want to disturb the slumbers of his 
friends, to whom he had bade farewell the night before. 
Ben, who had shown himself so amenable to training, had 
been taught not to raise his voice in the house, but he 
knew what was before him when he saw Pippin fill his 
pack, and the moment the door was shut behind them gave 
vent to his ecstasy in a paean of barks, which resounded 
in the narrow street, and must have awakened at least 
half the inhabitants of it. 

"It's no good, dear master; I've simply got to give 
tongue. Nothing has ever happened that pleases me so 
much as this, for it's the long road this time, I know. 
You would bark yourself, if you knew how to. If you had 
told me last night what was in the wind I should hardly 
have believed you. Let's get out of it. Come along, come 
along ! Hullo, there's a maid cleaning a doorstep ! She's 
up early. I must just go and tell her; and I think 111 
have a drink out of her pail. Barking is thirsty work. 
All right, Mary, no need to make a fuss; I shan't hurt 
you. That's better. Good-bye! I'm off with my mas- 

They passed through the region of squares and fine 

houses, and those that were not quite so fine, crossed the 



river, and went through the poorer quarters, where the 
slatternly beginning of the day was in full progress. It 
was not until they had reached the suburbs, in which the 
houses were beginning to get bigger and to have gardens 
in front of and behind them, that Pippin found a place 
in which he could breakfast. It was not such a breakfast 
as he could have got in a country inn, with fresh eggs and 
butter, and hot sizzling bacon ; but that would come later. 
There was a satisfaction in keeping something for antici- 
pation, which was partly why Pippin had not taken a 
train out of the city and started his last walk in the 
country. He wanted to walk out as he had walked in, 
losing by degrees the evidences of the town, as then they 
had increased upon him. 

It took him the whole of the day to do it. After a time 
he would come upon little patches of what seemed open 
land, and then the streets and the houses would close in 
upon him again. When he had got clear of the suburbs 
the suburban towns and villages strung themselves along 
the road, each of them throwing 1 out its own tentacles of 
rapid building to meet the next, so that it would not be 
long before they were all swallowed up in the ever advanc- 
ing tide of brick and slate. When he had passed beyond 
the farthest limit of the tram-lines, curbstones and lamp- 
posts still accompanied him ; but now there were handsome 
villas in large gardens, and now and then green meadows 
or little woods, but all enclosed, and attending upon the 
amenities of the house to which they belonged. These were 
pleasant places enough for those who wanted trees and 
grass and flowers around them, but must be within easy 
reach of the town. Behind them, no doubt, there was un- 
touched country here and there, with hedj 


running past farms and open fields ; but on the main road 
there were only the walls or the palings of the private 
grounds. There was no sense of the freedom of the coun- 
try for miles outside the city. Pippin and Ben had to 
keep between the parallels of the road ; but the road was I 
leading them forward, and sooner or later the influence of 
the town must depart from it, and the country through 
which they would walk bring with it that uplifting and 
calming of the spirit which cannot be enjoyed in towns. 

It was in a town that Pippin slept that night. It did 
not consider itself to belong to the great city, and he was 
thought to have performed a great feat in walking so far 
in a day, but also to be rather foolish to have done it, 
since he could have covered the distance by train in about 
half an hour. He had walked fewer miles than on many 
another day of his journeyings, but he could go no far- 
ther, or he would not have slept in a town at all. Every 
muscle of his body ached, and Ben was so tired that he 
could scarcely be roused to interest by the offer of food. 
They had become townsmen both, unfitted for exertions 
that would presently be nothing to them. 

It took them some days more to get into the state nat- 
ural to both of them, and by that time the smiling country 
was all about them, and the last taint of the town far 
behind. On they went, up hill and down hill and on level 
ground, sometimes walking for miles along the highway, 
sometimes leaving it for paths that took them through 
fields or through woods or along gliding rivers. Some- 
times it was fine, sometimes it rained, but they enjoyed it 
all, and each night as he lay down to sleep Pippin thought 
of the miles that he had put behind him and the steadily 
decreasing distance between him and his home. 


He had covered about half the distance when he had an 
encounter which curiously linked the ending of his walk 
with its beginning. 

He had been walking for some distance by a high stone 
wall which enclosed a gentleman's park. By and by he 
came to the gates giving entrance to it. On one side of 
them was a low-built lodge, with a bright little ordered 
garden in front of it. On the other there was a building 
of more importance. It had a high-pointed roof in the 
French style, with an ornamented window flush with the 
park wall, and at some height in it. On the stretch of 
grass between the wall and the road was a huge plane- 
tree not yet in leaf. The road through the park, which 
could be seen between the bars of the tall iron gates, led 
to a handsome house, the many windows of which were 
gleaming in the afternoon sunshine; and a little farther 
down the road showed the squat tower of an old church, 
which seemed to stand within the park itself. 

There was something in all this which struck a chord in 
Pippin's memory, and puzzled him greatly as he walked 
on. For the road on which he was now walking was many 
miles from the place where he had turned aside with the 
circus. He had never seen this place before, and the sense 
of something vaguely familiar was not what would have 
been aroused by a picture. 

He came to a turn in the road, and saw some way ahead 
of him an elderly gentleman taking a walk. He was thin 
and tall, dressed in the well-cut tweeds of a man of quality. 
He walked slowly, using a stick, more as a support than a 

Ben raced towards him. He could never rid himself of 
the idea that everybody he met on the road would b#^| 


glad to make his acquaintance, if he gave him the oppor- 
tunity, though he sometimes got a snub for his pains. 

He got one now, for the gentleman, startled by his sud- 
den approach, hit at him with his stick, and turned round 
with an air of annoyance to see who was coming. Ben 
came back to Pippin to tell him that this was a person 
devoid of manners, and he had better have as little to do 
with him as possible. 

Pippin was inclined to the same opinion, for a light 
had sprung up in his mind, and in spite of the change in 
clothing, and in his gait a lack of his former vigour, he 
had recognized his old acquaintance, the Gentleman Tramp, 
from whom he had parted a year before not on the best of 
terms. He knew now why the pavilion by the lodge-gates, 
and the great tree, and the church in the park, had struck 
a chord in his memory. They were what this man had 
described to him in the home of his childhood, and had 
made a picture in his mind, which had remained there, 
though he had not thought of it since. 

Then the lifelong vagabond had returned to his home 
at last! Pippin's curiosity to know how this had come 
about overcame his dislike for this man, and he determined 
to make himself known to him, if he should not recognize 

He had time to observe him as he approached. He was 
much changed from when Pippin had last seen him. It 
was not only his clothes that were so different. His beard 
had been neatly trimmed in his vagabond state, and he was 
not altered in that respect, except that it was white where 
before it had only been grey. His face was pale and his 
eyes sunken, and his whole body seemed to have shrunk, 
though he held it erect as he waited for Pippin to come 


up to him. He was an old man, where only a year before 
he had been no more than of middle age, and active with it. 

He spoke very haughtily when Pippin came within ear- 
shot. "I wish you would keep your mongrel dog within 
bounds, sir," he said. "Let me tell you that if he is 
caught trespassing off the road he is very likely to be shot 
by one of my keepers." 

"As your spaniel was shot years ago, when you and he 
trespassed," returned Pippin. 

He was annoyed at his manner of address and his call- 
ing Ben a mongrel, in his old abusive style, but was imme- 
diately sorry that he had spoken in this way, for the 
man's face went white, and his shrunken body seemed to 
shrink into itself still further. But he recovered himself 
immediately, laughed with affected heartiness, and said: 
"Why, it's my young friend the yokel, and still on the 
road! Well, this is a meeting indeed, and I wonder that 
I did not recognize you. But you have gained an air, 
young man, since we had that pleasant walk together, 
and I told you my story. I've no wish, by the by, that it 
shall be brought up again in these parts, where it was 
never known in its entirety and is now forgotten. If you 
tell it, as no doubt you will, kindly wait until you get 
away from this country, and then omit my name, which 
is highly respected." 

"You never told me your name," said Pippin. 

"Then I won't tell it you now. But of course it will 
be easy enough for you to find out what it is, by asking 

"I see you still have the same low opinion of your fellow- 
men," said Pippin. "But your name is nothing to me, 
and I shall ask no question about you at all." 


His face changed, and he even looked a little ashamed 
of himself. "I remember you now as an honest young 
man," he said, "and that my honesty was not glaringly 
apparent when we parted from one another. As for hav- 
ing a low opinion of my fellow-men, it is true that I think 
very little of them in the mass, but that there are good 
ones among them I have reason to know." 

They were walking on slowly. "I remember your de- 
scription of your home," Pippin said, "and it seemed fa- 
miliar to me as I passed it just now, though I couldn't 
tell why till I saw you. I am glad you have come back 
to it." 

"Yes, I have come back," he said with a sigh. <f Wbuld 
you like to know how I came back, and the reception I 
got? If so, let us sit on this stile, and I will tell you." 

He seated himself on the lower step of a stile which 
marked a field-path just here, while Pippin threw himself 
on the grass, not sorry for a rest, and anxious to hear the 
end of his story. 

"It was in the winter that I came back," he said, "in that 
bitter cold time that you remember just before Christ- 
mas. I was feeling it more than I had ever felt rough 
weather before, and I think I must already have been a 
trifle light-headed with my illness coming on me; for I 
had always kept away from this part of the country in 
all my wanderings, and yet I seemed to be drawn to it. 
Certainly I was light-headed on that last day, when it 
snowed and snowed as if it would never leave off, and I 
went on walking through it without stopping, but never 
recognized a sign of anything familiar, or knew in the 
least where I was. And that is curious, because all the 
time I was saying I must go home and go to bed, and my 


mother would look after me. And yet I felt as strong as 
ever in my life, and must have covered an enormous dis- 
tance before I collapsed. 

"Something in my brain must have been directing my 
steps without my knowing it, for when I came to the gates 
of the park which you passed just now I stopped short, 
though I must have passed many such entrances and gone 
pounding along the road without turning my head to look 
at them. At any rate, it seemed quite natural that I 
should be there, and I suppose I should have rung the 
bell, which one always had to do in the old days, and gone 
in; but it was just then that my strength suddenly failed 

"The next thing I knew, I was lying in the snow, but 
it seemed to me that I was lying in bed, and my brother 
was leaning over me. That seemed quite natural too, 
though it was over forty years since I had seen him, and 
I called his name. 

"That was all I knew at that time, but I learnt after- 
wards that he had been driving home, and his horse had 
shied at a man lying half-buried in the snow at the side 
of the road. A disreputable tramp he was, for all he 
could tell, but I think he would have taken him in and put 
him to bed anyhow, for that is the sort of man he i«. He 
knew me when I called his name. He had never forgotten 
me, he told me afterwards, and had always hoped to see me 

"He was driving alone. The old lodge-keeper and his 
wife were superannuated servants who could be trusted 
not to tell how it was that the eldest son of the house had 
come home. They put me to bed in the lodge, and it was 
a long time before I could be moved to the house, for I 


was very ill, and should certainly have died in the snow 
if my brother had not found me. I am not quite myself 
even now, but I am getting better every day, and with the 
spring coming on I shall be as strong as ever I was. I 
have lived a hard and active life, as you know, and I am 
a younger man than my brother in all that matters, though 
he has the advantage of me by several years." 

This unexpected boast struck Pippin sadly. It seemed 
to him that this man was not long to enjoy his restora- 
tion to his home. The death of the poor rider of the 
circus had marked Pippin's memory painfully. There 
were the same signs here, the emaciated face and body, the 
helpless cough, even the denial towards the end of any- 
thing wrong. The end would not be quite yet. He would 
walk for a little longer in the sun, as he was doing on this 
fine afternoon, but his walks would soon be over. It was 
well for him that they had not ended some weeks before. 

But this impression passed. He was still so full of' 
vitality, in spite of the weakness of his body, and had 
already shown that he had not lost all his old habits of 
speech and behavior. It was not possible, listening to his 
talk, to think of him as a man nearing his end. 

"I had always done my father an injustice in my mind," 
he went on, in a more sprightly tone. "He was hard 
upon me, as I told you, and when he cast me adrift he 
put my brother in my place. He told him that he had 
done so because I had misbehaved myself, but nothing 
more, and he allowed him to think that he had treated 
me with unjustifiable harshness till the day of his death. 
So you see that I return to the home of my fathers a 
much-wronged man, and — " 

He broke off suddenly and cast a look of some suspicion 


at Pippin. "I suppose I can trust you," he said, "not 
to repeat anything I am telling you, at least until you get 
away from where it might do me harm." 

"I have already told you that you can," said Pippin. 

"Well, it is some relief to be able to unburden my mind 
a little. The part I have to play now is becoming irk- 
some to me, now I am nearly free of my sickness, and 
ready to take my place in the world again. You may 
imagine that I shall be very careful to avoid recognition 
by those who knew me when I was — er — travelling the 
country, shall we say? But you are rather different. I 
took a fancy to you the moment I saw you first, when you 
were in need of a meal, and being flush of money at the 
time I provided you with one. You listened to my story 
then, I remember, with a courtesy beyond your years and 
station in life. Of course I must have told it well, though 
it is possible that I softened some of the details of it to 
suit your innocent ears. I must confess I like talking 
about myself, and keeping nothing back — or very little. 
You shall be my father confessor, and I will confide to 
you that the pretence I have to keep up in my brother's 
house is becoming infernally wearisome to me, and, good 
and worthy man though he is, I am becoming sick of the 
sight of him." 

"You used to be pretty good at keeping up a pretence," 
said Pippin. "I should have thought there would be no 
necessity for it now, and the kindness you have met with 
might deserve a better return. And it was I who pro- 
vided you with a meal when we first met, and not you 


"It may have been so, and if it was, it ill b 
to remind me of it. But I remember now that 


stern moralist, and parted from me in dudgeon because 
I sat too lightly to your code. Ah, those were good days, 
after all, when one had the excitement of providing for 
daily wants by the exercise of wit and adroitness. I have 
no such pleasures now. I have the best of meat and drink 
served to me> and I care nothing for it, but hate to sit 
interminably at table listening to dull chatter about noth- 
ing at all, or, if I import some brightness into it by re- 
counting some of my adventures, having to bethink myself 
all the time of what I said on the last occasion, so as not 
to contradict myself." 

"Then you do tell them of your adventures?" 
"I suppose you may call them my adventures, since I 
go to the trouble of inventing them. It amused me to do 
so at first, but I went at it too light-heartedly, and it is 
becoming difficult to keep the thread. My brother be- 
lieves everything I say, of course. In his eyes at least I 
am a much injured man, who kept up a brave struggle 
with a fate that was at last too much for me, when I put 
on a suit of old clothes, omitted to wash, and came home 
to die on his doorstep. But unless I am mistaken sus- 
picion is breeding elsewhere. I have nephews and nieces. 
They do not quite understand me. There is a dulness of 
spirit in them which is painful to me to contemplate in 
those who are of the same blood as myself. I am wasted 
on them. And yet there I am, in a house that ought to 
have been my own, a pensioner on a man with but a tithe 
of my ability, and — " 

"But with ten times your kindness and goodness," Pip- 
pin broke in on him, indignantly. "I wonder you are not 
ashamed to show yourself in the light you do after the 
way he has treated you." 


"I told you he was a good man," he said, quite un- 
abashed, "and let that be enough. A good man may be a 
very dull man, and in my experience usually is so. You 
are not a little dull yourself, and you are always impress- 
ing upon me your goodness. One did not meet many good 
men on the road, and got away from them as soon as 
possible when one did. But how merry the company was 
at times, and how I sometimes long to go back to it! 
When your dog so startled me, I was actually imagining 
myself manoeuvring for a meal, as I believe I did with you 
on our first meeting. It would taste much better if I 
could get it in that way than the dinner I shall presently 
sit down to, in another suit of clothes, for which I shall 
have the useless labour of changing this one, and waited on 
by men before whom I shall have to act as if I had never 
eaten a meal that had not been handed to me. This life 
is stifling me. I liked it at first, for a change, but it is 
duller than any life I have lived for years past, and most 
dull in being so comfortable. I tell you that the only dis- 
advantage of the life I lived for so long was that one 
never had enough money in one's pocket. With what my 
brother gives me — with apologies for having to give what 
should have been mine — I could go my old way like a king. 
When the weather gets warmer, and I shake off this 
tiresome cough, which is all that remains of my illness, I 
shall take the road again. I shall make some polite ex- 
cuse to get away, and of course I shall come back again 
when I have had enough of it. My brother has treated 
me well, as I told you, and I owe him some recompense. 
How I wish I were coming with you now, instead of going 
back to my prison! I must be going back now, or they 
will be sending to look for me. I am supposed to be 



something of an invalid still, and I am being 1 cosseted and 
coddled to death." 

A labouring man came along the field-path, and the 
Gentleman Tramp got up from the stile to make way for 
him. . • • He touched his hat respectfully, but looked a 
little surprised at what he saw. 

"Well, young man," said the Gentleman Tramp to 
Pippin, in a carrying voice, "I have heard your story out 
very patiently, but I can do nothing for you. I have no 
work that I can give you, and money I will not give you. 
My advice to you is to get back to the paths of honesty 
and virtue, and you will arrive at a hale and respected 
age. You will now go your way and I will go mine." 

He went down the road. Ben barked at him, but he did 
not look back. The labouring man got over another stile 
on the other side of the road, and throwing a glance at 
him was moved to touch his hat again, so stately and dis- 
tinguished was his presence* 


journey's end 

It had pleased Pippin to plan to reach home not only 
on the same day as he had departed but at the same hour. 
But home, for this purpose, was not his father's house, 
but that in which his cousin Alison lived, the red-roofed 
white-walled house on the downs, with the chalk stream 
running in front of it, at which he had said good-bye 
to her. 

She would hardly expect him at that hour, but he would 
wait until she came out of the house, and then he would 
tease her, and say that she had promised to be waiting 
for him at the end of the year. The end of the year 
had come an hour ago, and he had kept to his promise, 
but she had not. The idea of this little play gave him 
absurd pleasure, and he smiled to himself as he walked 
up the hill at the top of which he would come in sight 
of Alison's home. 

He had slept that night at the farm at which he had 
breakfasted on the first morning. There had been no 
difference anywhere, except that the children showed their 
year's growth. The lambing season was on again, and the 
same cares and duties filled the minds of these pastorals. 
It was a foretaste of his home-coming to be with them. 

The same strong clean wind blew over the downs, but 

he had it at his back as he climbed the hill. The sun 

was up, and the larks towering high into the sky to greet 

it. Great spaces were all around him, both of the sky 




and of the earth. He thought that in all his journey ings 
he had seen no fairer country than this of his birth. 
The love of it had been born in him. It would have been 
worth while to go away for a year if only for the keen 
joy of coming back to it* 

Ben also seemed pleased with this open country, and 
raced over the thymy downland turf, covering wide circles 
while Pippin walked up the hill, but came obediently to 
heel when called. It was explained to him that to chase 
wiry moorland sheep who could run nearly as fast as he 
could was a venial offence, though the chasing of all sheep 
must be abjured at this time of the year; but sheep in 
this country were not to be chased at any time, and if 
he wished to earn the good opinion of those among whom 
his lot was now to be cast he must learn to behave himself 
not as an irresponsible puppy but as a wise dog who 
knew when to let himself go and when to hold himself 

Ben waved his tail to show that he was in full accord 
with all that his master was saying. "Perhaps I haven't 
quite caught the whole of it, but your voice is music to 
me, and I can tell by the tone of it that you are giving 
me good advice. You may rely upon me to follow it* 
And now, if you have quite finished, would you like to 
see me start that fat old ewe over there? She'll run 
faster than ever she did with me behind her, and it will 
do her lamb good to learn to get out of the way. You'd 
rather I didn't? Very well. You only have to say so. 
Go on talking to me and I'll stay by you as long as you 

They came to the top of the hill. There was the house 
nestling below them, with the bright flowers in the garden, 


and the orchard flanking it, and the white road beyond, 
dipping to the vale and mounting to the hill, every foot 
of which Pippin knew. It was all most wonderfully the 
same, and yet different, for he saw it with new eyes. And, 
oh, how good it was to see it again ! 

The house was shuttered, except the window of Alison's 
room, which was wide open; for she liked to be greeted 
by the sun and the air when she awoke in the morning. 
It was just the hour when he had come up the road 
a year before, and seen her standing in the doorway, 
which now seemed very empty, framing a closed door in- 
stead of her figure. Perhaps after all, he would not wait 
for the hour of her rising, which would bring others out 
of their beds too, to come about him with their welcome. 
He would creep up the garden path and throw little 
pebbles into her window, and she would know it was he 
who was there when they woke her, for he had roused her 
in that way before. 

But for a few minutes he would wait, and take it all 
in — the familiar scene so full of content — and think how 
wonderful it was to have it before his eyes again. 

He sat down on the grass against the wall of loose 
stones that ran alongside the road, and pulled Ben to 
him, who panted and lolled his dripping tongue and looked 
about him wondering when they were going on again. 

He had hardly settled himself when the door of the 
house opened, and there was Alison! 

She looked up the road, shading her eyes with her 
hand against the sun, which was not far above the crest 
of the hill, and shone straight into them. She did not 
see Pippin against the wall, and he would have sat there 
for a moment before he showed himself, because emotion 


had surged up in him at her appearance, and he wanted 
to look at this new Alison, who wore the body of the old 
one. But Ben barked a greeting, and ran off to see 
whether this girl who had just come out was friendly 
with dogs. Pippin got up from the grass, and went down 
the hill towards her. 

She met him at the gate of the garden. She had not 
hurried her steps, but she caught her breath a little as 
she came up to him, and a light sprang into her eyes 
as she met his. Neither of them spoke until they had 
clasped hands and kissed each other. A kiss had always 
been their cousinly greeting, but Pippin had sometimes 
pretermitted it since they had been grown up. That came 
to his mind now, and he wondered at himself for having 
neglected his privileges, but felt a keen joy in their re- 

It was Ben who brought them to speech. "If you love 
this girl, dear master, so do I. As you are slow about 
introducing me to her, I'll save time by making a fuss 
of her myself. She's just the sort I like, and I'm sure 
we shall get on well together.'* 

Then there was laughter and a flood of words. They 
went into the orchard, and sat on a bench under an apple- 
tree. They had parted by the bridge, in full view of 
the windows of the house, but now they wanted to be alone 

Pippin told her of the plan he had made to arouse her 
from sleep. "And then you came," he said. "I could 
hardly believe my eyes. Did you expect me, at this hour?" 

"I don't know," she said. "Somehow I — But, yes, 
dear Pippin, I felt that something must happen this morn- 
ing, and I couldn't lie in bed. How, how glad I am to 


have you back! But I mustn't keep you long. They 
are expecting you at home. Your father said you would 
come to-day." 

He asked after his father and mother. "But they 
won't expect me yet awhile," he said, wondering how he 
was ever to leave her, even to see his home and his parents. 

The full tale of his adventures could not be told at this 
time, but he gave her an outline, to be filled up in count- 
less talks later. It began with the finding of Ben, and 
that led to his accident, and the rescue that Ben had 
brought about. 

Ben had forgotten all about that long ago, but was 
pleased to be talked about, and to receive caresses from 
Alison as well as from his master. "Oh, I've looked after 
him for you. But you talk to him now while I go to 
sleep. Rouse me if anything happens to frighten either 
of you." 

Alison said that Pippin ought to have written home at 
that time, and he told her that that was what Lydia 
had said, and more about Lydia and her grandmother, 
and the doctor. Alison added them all to her list of 
friends, and said she must hear much more about them 

Pippin made an amusing tale of his joining the circus, 
and of his life with it. Most of his fellow-performers 
were mentioned, but a notable exception was the Countess 
de Rimini. There was not time to mention everybody. 

He had much to tell about his life in the city, and his 
friends there, but his entrance to it was barely touched 
upon, and Alison was under the impression, until later, 
that he had gone at once to Mrs. Blunt's. 

He told her of his two meetings with the Gentleman 


Tramp, at the beginning of his journey and towards its 
end, and of other encounters on the road, one story lead- 
ing to another, and the narrative jumping all over the 
calendar in a way that would have bewildered her if it 
had been a strict chronology that she wanted. But it 
is only men who are particular about that, in any tale 
they tell about themselves, and it is well known that most 
men have great difficulty in recounting their adventures, 
leaving out so much that a woman wants to know, till 
at the end of it they are often said to have told nothing, 
or alternatively that what they have told has had to be 
dragged out of them. This is because a woman wants 
to get at the heart of things, when she loves the narrator, 
and the heart of his adventures to her is the way he bore 
himself in them. 

Alison kept her eyes upon him as he talked. There 
had been a little shyness between them at the first greet- 
ing, but that had passed. They were now completely 
happy and at ease with one another. Many emotions 
showed themselves on her face as she listened to him, and 
pride in him was not the least of them. He did not know 
that many of her questions were asked to test him, nor 
perhaps did she; but she was not disappointed in his 
answers. He had grown to man's estate since he had 
gone off to see the world a year before, not thinking 
much about anybody but himself and his own desires, 
of good stuff, but of stuff that wanted working over 
and proving, if he were to grow to his rightful stature. 
She wanted the tale of his year, in as full detail as she 
could get it, but how it pleased her to find him constantly 
breaking off in it to talk about his home! He wanted 
to hear all about their Christmas there, and whether she 


had thought about him as much as he had thought about 
her on that day ; and he told her, apparently as an after- 
thought, returning to the subject of his accident, how 
he had thought it was she who was coming to him when 
Lydia found him, and had called her name. It was this 
that taught her how she would have to prove if she 
wanted to hear all the things that really mattered in his 
adventures, and from that moment a confession of what 
had driven him from the circus became only a question 
of time, though it was not made that morning under the 

It ended with Pippin's homecoming, and all that lay 
before him in the happy future. It was a great life 
that he would be leading now, with his work on the land 
to occupy him, and the innumerable pleasures and satis- 
factions that went with it. And Alison would be part of 
it all, as she had always been, but a much larger part. 
There was nobody else who would understand everything 
as she did, and to whom he would want to tell every- 
thing, down to the last minute detail. 

"I haven't ridden a horse for months," said Pippin, 
"but I shall keep Captain busy coming over to see you, 
and I think I shall buy another horse. I wish you didn't 
live so far off, Alison. But when I am twenty-one we will 
be married, and then we shall always be together." 

She laughed at that. "You haven't asked me yet," she 
said, but without a trace of coquetry. 

He took her hand, and they looked at one another, 
searching for what lay behind the windows of the eye. 
Then they kissed. It was a sweeter kiss even than the 
kiss of greeting had been. 

A bell rang in the house. Pippin would have gone in 

wiiL nc to breakiaai, 1ml she would not 1st ixnc. It 
natural that Ik should ha*t med bex firsi — JKr* ihk 
at the wkt Id i» — but hk pai e ui* must came hsini? 

a dreadful ihmg it was thai yon went bwet.^ sm -mid 
him : **and prrhapp you would never come hnrik 3£ut your 
father ha* always said thai it was the best inn^; far 
-van, sad that vdh would come back directh- ±n* veer 
was up. and not want Id go away again. Sd yon most 
go Id them now., and your mother will be -very pWasW) 
that he was right aad she was wrong, though perhaps 
fiber wiD not admit thai be was right-" \ 

She watcbed bim down the road, standing concealed 
bv that be should not know thai she was watching him. 
He waited with a strong and sprmgj step, hk shoulder* 
squared and hk bead held high. She thought she beard 
him g^gw^g to himself, and there was no doubt that be 
was at the summit of happiness- A Terr proper man be 
was, wartbj of all i woman's lore and trust. Joy and 
pride in him £Ded her heart with a happiness as deep 

She lost him in the dip of the road, but waited for 
him to come into sight again, and kept her eyes upon 
the lessening figure of her lover, and the black dot that 
was Ben, until they topped the h31 and disappeared. 
And then there was nothing more to stay for, and she 
went back to the house. 


with her to breakfast, but she would not let him. It 
was natural that he should have seen her first — her home 
was on the way to his — but his parents must come before 
others. "Your dear mother has never ceased saying what 
a dreadful thing it was that you went away," she told 
him ; "and perhaps you would never come back. But your 
father has always said that it was the best thing for 
you, and that you would come back directly the year 
was up, and not want to go away again. So you must 
go to them now, and your mother will be very pleased 
that he was right and she was wrong, though perhaps 
she will not admit that he was right." 

She watched him down the road, standing concealed 
so that he should not know that she was watching him. 
He walked with a strong and springy step, his shoulders 
squared and his head held high. She thought she heard 
him singing to himself, and there was no doubt that he 
was at the summit of happiness. A very proper man he 
was, worthy of all a woman's love and trust. Joy and 
pride in him filled her heart with a happiness as deep 
as his. 

She lost him in the dip of the road, but waited for 
him to come into sight again, and kept her eyes upon 
the lessening figure of her lover, and the black dot that 
was Ben, until they topped the hill and disappeared. 
And then there was nothing more to stay for, and she 
went back to the house. 


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